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ROME. By Arthur Gilman, 

THE JEWS. By Prof. J. K. 


GERMANY. By Rev. S. Baring- 
Gould, M.A. 
CARTHAGE. By Prof. Alfred 

J. Church. 

Prof. J. P. Mahaffy. 

Stanley Lane-Poole. 

George Rawlinson. 
HUNGARY. By Prof. Arminius 


Gilman, M.A. 
IRELAND. By the Hon. Emily 


By Zenaide A. 

By Henry Brad- 
By Zenaide A. 
By Stanley Lane- 






HOLLAND. By Prof. J 

Thoroi.d Rogers. 

Gustave Masson. 



MEDIA. By Zenaide A. Ra- 

Helen Zimmern. 

Alfred J. Church. 

By Stanley Lane-Poole. 

RUSSIA. By W. Morfill, M.A. 

ROMANS. By W. D. Morri- 

SCOTLAND. By John Mackin- 
tosh, LL.D. 

Hug and R. Stead. 

MEXICO. By Susan Hale. 

PORTUGAL. By H. Morse 


3 2 ' 












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Orne Jewett. 

By C. W. C. Oman. 
SICILY : Phoenician, Greek and 

Roman. By the late Prof. E. 

A. Freeman. 

By Bella Duffy. 
POLAND. By W. R. Morfill, 

PARTHIA. By Prof. George 

WEALTH. By Greville 

SPAIN. By H. E. Watts. 
JAPAN. By David Murray, 


M. Theal. 
VENICE. By Alethea Wiel. 

Arc ier and C. L. Kingsford. 

MAIN. By James Rodway. 
BOHEMIA. By C. Edmund 

THE BALKANS. By W. Miller, 

CANADA. By Sir J. G. Bouri- 

not, LL.D. 

Frazer, LL.B. 

Le Bon. 
THE FRANKS. By Lewis Ser- 
AUSTRIA. By Sidney Whit- 


the Reform Bill. By Justin 

CHINA. By Prof. R. K. Douglas. 

Reform Bill to the Present 
Time. By Justin McCarthy. 

A. S. Hume. 


NORWAY. By H. H. Boyesen. 

WALES. By O. M. Edwards, 

London: T. FISHER UNWIN, Paternoster Square, E.G. 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2013 

Delft ,-^ 12, 1584. {See p. 119.) 












Copyright by T. Fisher Unwin, 1880 
(For Great Britain). 

• Jt 





SB • 






The story which is contained in the following pages 
is, of necessity, brief, for I cannot go beyond the limits 
of the series. But it need not be given in great detail. 
It is possible by a short narrative to recount the prin- 
cipal facts in the greatest and most important of all 
European wars, that in which the seven provinces 
of Holland secured their independence against the 
monarch who was supposed to possess the mightiest 
powers of the age. Holland was won by its people 
acre by acre, field by field, against the best European 
troops of the time, the most practised generals, and 
what seemed to be boundless resources. The details 
of the struggle are dry and tedious. The interest in 
the story lies in the spirit and resolution of the Hol- 
landers, in the tenacity with which they clung to their 
purposes, in the entire success which attended their 
efforts, and the great results which followed from the 
victory which they won, after a war of unparalleled 
duration. The Spanish king, their foe, represented 
the two principles of sixteenth-century despotism, 


entire authority over the lives and fortunes of his 
subjects, entire authority over their consciences. The 
Hollanders resisted him, defeated him, and gave the 
first precedent for civil and religious liberty. 

Their success was the stimulant to similar efforts in 
other countries. These efforts were not always suc- 
cessful ; sometimes, indeed, they were defeated, and 
governments were apparently all the stronger by reason 
of the failure in the attempt to control them. But 
the example of the Dutch was never forgotten, and 
the prosperity of free Holland was always a stimulant 
to those other races which struggled for freedom. 
The Huguenots attempted to follow their example, 
and failed. The Protestant states of Northern and 
Central Germany strove to free themselves, quarrelled 
among each other, and after thirty years of desperate 
and sanguinary warfare, the battle was drawn. 
England grappled with the despotism of the Stewarts, 
put it down for a time, suffered from the effects of a 
shameful reaction, and finally established constitu- 
tional monarchy, i.e., an aristocratic republic, disguised 
by the fiction of a powerless sovereign. 

The precedent of the Dutch revolt was before the 
minds of those who drew up the Declaration of Ameri- 
can Independence. I cannot say that the Colonies 
would not have resisted the British Parliament after 
the Stamp Act was passed, even if there had been 
no history of Holland. But precedents are of the 
highest value in political action, especially if the pre- 
cedent is one of signal success. In absolute ignorance 
of what the result would be, the French Government, 
which was utterly corrupt, selfish, cruel, and tyran- 


nical, intervened on behalf of American freedom, and 
materially aided the struggle for independence. The 
inevitable issue of this intervention was the French 
Revolution. The final overthrow of the French 
Empire, after it had fought for eighteen years single- 
handed against Europe was of course followed by 
reaction. But slowly, very slowly, European races 
have within the present generation won back some 
liberties from the dynasties and their tools, and will 
in the end, if they are wise, win much more from 
them. The form which their best efforts take is that 
of nationality, an impulse which may be misdirected 
by intriguing politicians, but is gradually being 
educated into definite aims. 

I hold it that the revolt of the Netherlands and 
the success of Holland is the beginning of modern 
political science and of modern civilization. It utterly 
repudiated the divine right of kings, and the divine 
authority of an Italian priest, the two most inveterate 
enemies which human progress has had to do battle 
with. At present, the king in civilized communities is 
the servant of the state, whose presence and influence is 
believed to be useful. The priest can only enjoy an 
authority which is voluntarily conceded to him, but 
has no authority over those who decline to recognize 
him. These two principles of civil government the 
Dutch were the first to affirm. They deposed Philip 
and put the head of the house of Orange in his place, 
but only as the highest servant of a free Republic. 
They refused all concessions to the court of Rome, 
and, very soon after their independence was secured, 
accepted the principle of religious equality. Holland 


was the solitary European state for a long time, in 
which a man's religious opinions were no bar to his 
exercise of all civil rights. At the present time, most 
civilized communities have followed this excellent 

The student of history is bidden to take notice of 
the heroic resistance which Athens first, and much of 
Southern Greece afterwards made to the Persian king 
twenty-three centuries ago. The resistance which 
Holland made to the Spanish king was infinitely more 
heroic, far more desperate, much more successful, and 
infinitely more significant, because it was a war in 
which the highest principles were vindicated, and vindi- 
cated irreversibly. In those principles, secured by the 
efforts of a small and, at first sight, of a feeble people, 
lies the very life of modern liberty. The debt which 
rational and just government owes to the seven 
provinces is incalculable. To the true lover of liberty, 
Holland is the Holy Land of modern Europe, and 
should be held sacred. 

But the debt of modern Europe to Holland is by 
no means limited to the lessons which it taught as to 
the true purposes of civil government. It taught 
Europe nearly everything else. It instructed com- 
munities in progressive and rational agriculture. It 
was the pioneer in navigation and in discovery ; and, 
according to the lights of the age, was the founder of 
intelligent commerce. It produced the greatest jurists 
of the seventeenth century. It was pre-eminent in 
the arts of peace. The presses of Holland put forth 
more books than all the rest of Europe did. It had 
the most learned scholars. The languages of the East 


were first given to the world by Dutchmen. It was 
foremost in physical research, in rational medicine. 
It instructed statesmen in finance, traders in banking 
and credit, philosophers in the speculative sciences. 
For a long time that little storm-vexed nook of 
North-western Europe was the university of the 
civilized world, the centre of European trade, the 
admiration, the envy, the example of nations. 

Holland, it is true, committed political and com- 
mercial errors, which it dearly expiated, of which a 
malignant use was made by states and statesmen who 
committed ten times as many crimes. But the annals 
of Holland are singularly free from deliberate wrong- 
doing. Its worst acts were defensive, into which it 
was led by intriguers, such as the judicial murder of 
Olden Barneveldt, the foolish advocacy of the exiled 
Stewarts, the shameful murder of the De Witts. But 
in these doings it was the accomplice of the house of 
Orange, which after great services led it into disgrace, 
and finally into ruin. It was an evil day for Holland, 
when this degenerate family began to marry into 
the houses of Stewart and Hanover, of Prussia and 

I would have gladly brought the story to a close 
with the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, after which, by no 
fault of its own, Holland became of little account in the 
councils of Europe, and was finally overrun by France. 
But the facts had to be told, and they are a striking 
lesson. In the shameful humiliation of Holland, Great 
Britain, to its dishonour, took the most active part. 
From the days of Selden down to the days of Can- 
ning, it was the policy of British statesmen to pander 


to the most sordid instincts of British traders, and to 
truckle to the designs of the houses of Stewart and 
Hanover against the independence of the gallant 
Republic. From their own point of view, that of 
securing allies on the European continent, the policy 
was entirely unwise ; from the point of view of inter- 
national morality, it was supremely dishonest. 

My principal authorities are Davies, Motley, and 
especially Wagenaar. The annals of the Dutch nation 
are exceedingly copious and accurate. I wish indeed 
that we knew more in detail about the particulars of 
the great manufacturing towns of Flanders before the 
revolt of the Netherlands, of the great trading towns 
of the seven provinces during and after the War of 
Independence. The publication of such records would 
be of great interest to those who study the stirring 
history of the Republic, and follow out the process by 
which such important results ensued from what seemed 
to be such inadequate means. 



Early Days 


Eatavia, 3 — Policy of Charles the Great, 7 — The Church in 
the Netherlands, 9 — The Hooks and Kabeljauws, II. 


The Rise of the Chartered Towns 


Beneficial results of the Crusades, 13 — Institution of guilds, 
15 — League of the Hanse towns, 17 — English wool for 
Flemish looms, 19 — The church not one of the estates, 21. 


The House of Burgundy . 22-31 

Its origin, 23 — The liberties enjoyed by the Netherlands, 25 — 
Importance of the fisheries to Holland, 27 — Philip declares 
war against England, 29— Insurrection of the Flemish towns, 


Charles the Headstrong 


Charles aims at the sovereignty, 33 — Rivalry of the Flemish 
towns, 35 — Rebellion and punishment of Liege, 37 — Charles 
dies in battle against the Swiss. 39. 




Mary of Burgundy ..... 40-45 

The "Great Privilege " granted to Holland, 41 — Maximilian 
the pauper, 43 — The Spanish dynasty, 45. 


Charles, Count of Flanders and Emperor. 47-55 

Destruction of the Egyptian trade, 49 — Power of the Pope in 
Europe, 51 — Calvinists disavow "divine rights," 53 — Insur- 
rection and chastisement of Ghent, CC. 


The Accession of Philip of Spain . . 56-65 

The Prince of Orange, 59 — Charles's reign one long crime, 
61 — Philip means to respect Dutch liberties, 63 — Scene be- 
tween William and Philip, 65. 


Margaret of Parma 66-72 

The family of Nassau, 67 — The Netherlanders appeal to 
their charters, 69 — Abolition of the Inquisition, 71. 

Alva 73-82 

The Blood Council, 75 — Alva lays waste the Netherlands, 


Requesens, the Grand Commander . . 83-90 

The University ofLeyden, 87 — The possible allies of Hol- 
land, 89. 




Don John of Austria 9 I_ 99 

Don John's early career, 93 — The purposes of John, 95 — 
Orange suspects John, 97 — Death of John, 99. 

Alexander of Parma 100-108 

Parma's character, 101 — The Union of Utrecht, 103 — Philip 
renounced, 107. 


The Last Years of William the Silent . 109-119 

Anjou, in — Attempt on William's life, 113 — Anjou and 
Antwerp, 115 — Murder of William, 119. 


The Projects of Philip .... 120-128 

Aims of the Spanish king, 121 — Claims England, France, 
Germany, 123 — Resources of Philip, 125 — Bribes in all 
quarters, 127. 

Henry the Third and Elizabeth . . . 129-137 

Negotiations with Henry, 131 — Importance of the Nether- 
lands, 133 — Elizabeth and Leicester, 135 — Holland wins its 
own freedom, 137. 


Antwerp and the Armada .... 138-150 

The importance of Antwerp, 139 — The bridge and the siege, 
141 — Drake's expeditions, 145 — The Armada sails, 147 — 
Results of the defeat, 149. 




The Last Years of Parma . . . 151 -159 

Parma in France, 153— Parma distrusted by Philip, 157 — 
Philip's falsehoods, 15Q. 

After the Death of Parma . . . .160-167 

Maurice gains reputation, 161 —Capture of Cadiz, 163 — 
Philip gives away the Netherlands. 165 — Philip's death, 167. 

Dutch Enterprise ....... 168-176 

Linschoten's maps, 171 — Expeditionto thf; Polar Sea, 173 — 
Wintering at Nova Zemba, 175. 


The Dutch Indies 177-184 

The East India Company, 179 — Batavia, 181 — Negotiations 
for peace, 183. 


The Archdukes and the War . . . 185-198 

Bankruptcy of Spain, 187 — England at this time poor, 189 — 
Mutinies; Nieuwpoort, 193 — Ostend, 195 — Spinola appears, 


The Universal East India Company . . 199-205 

Objects of the company, 201 — Heemskerk at Gibraltar, 203 — 
The danger of monopoly, 205. 



The Truce 206-214 

France and the Netherlands, 207 — Conditions of Spain, 209 — 
Holland will not endure dictation, 211 — Reasonings of the 
Hollanders, 213. 

The Bank of Amsterdam .... 215-224 

Agriculture, 217 — Learning in Holland, 221 — Government of 
the Bank, 223. 


Religious Dissensions, and the Murder of 

Barneveldt ...... 225-237 

Religious dissensions, '227 — Arminius and Gomarus, 231 — 
Calvinism, 233 — Trial and execution of Barneveldt, 235— 
Grotius, 237. 


The Thirty Years' War, and the Renewal 

of Hostilities 238-248 

Beginning of the war, 239 — Frederic Henry Stadtholder, 241 
— Growth of Dutch trade, 243 — The tulip mania, 245 — The 
English Royal family, 247. 


Collisions between England and Holland 249-259 

Holland favours the Stewarts, 251 — War with Cromwell, 253 — 
Ingratitude of Charles II., 255 — William the orphan, 257 — 
Charles makes claims on the Dutch, 259. 

The Administration of John de Witt . 260-270 

The treaty of the Pyrenees, 263 — First war with Charles, 265 
— The Triple Alliance, 267 — The war of 1672, 269. 
15 b 




To the Peace of Nimeguen .... 271-282 

Training of William, 273 — William beloved by the Dutch, 
275 — William at the head of affairs, 277 — Death of De 
Ruyter, 279 — Marriage of William and Mary, 281. 


From the Peace of Nimeguen to the English 

Revolution 283-292 

The policy of Louis, 285 — Expulsion of the Huguenots, 287 — 
Louis offends every one, 289 — The expedition to England, 

The English Revolution .... 293-302 

Holland takes part in it, 295 — Landing at Torbay, 297 — 
William in England, 299 — William distrusts the English, 301. 


The War of 1689 to the Peace of Ryswick 

1697 • 303-3*3 

The allies, 305 — William no great general, 307 — The battle 
of La Hogue, 309 — The famine, 311 — Peace of Ryswick, 313. 


From the Peace of Ryswick to the Treaty 

of Utrecht 3 J 4-335 

The Dutch afraid of Louis, 315 — Character of Louis, 317 — 
Perfidy of Louis, 319 — Opinion at the time, 321 — Louis 
strives for Dutch neutrality, 323 — Marlborough, 325 — 
Churchill's purposes, 327 — Battle of Blenheim, 329 — The 
war in Spain, 331 — Conclusion of the war, 333 — The treaty 
of Utrecht, 335. 



The Internal Troubles of the Republic . 336-350 

Debts of Holland, 337 — The constitution, 339 — Amsterdam, 
341 — The Ostend Company, 343— The great bubbles, 345 — 
Holland a refuge, 347 — Marriage with the house of Hanover, 


Down Hill 35 I ~359 

The boundaries of European states, 353 — The Pragmatic 
Sanction, 355— William IV. Stadtholder, 357— The Republic 
at an end, 359. 


Holland to the time of the Armed 

Neutrality . ..... 360-366 

Anne the Governess, 361 — The growth of British commerce, 
363 — The war of American independence, 365. 


From the War of 17 81 to the Creation of 

Monarchy ...... 367-373 

The Patriot party, 369 — Civil war, 371 — Occupation by 
France, 373. 


Conclusion 374-380 

International services of Holland, 377 — Achievements in all 
learning, 379. 

Index 381 









THE ZUYDER ZEE . . . . . 

















. 46 













BRILL , 79 












PRINCE MAURICE . . . . , . „ .155 

HAARLEM . . 159 



AMSTERDAM . .,198 



BRIDGE, AT AMSTERDAM . . . . . 2l8 


OLDEN BARNEVELDT ..'..... 226 




DE RUYTER ... 254 






PIPES . . . 




SPINOZA ... . 

, 284 





- 304 



- 311 



. 328 


i • 

■ 339 

SLEIGH .... 


■ 347 


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. 358 

KUENEN .... 


■ 375 



. 378 

London: T. Fisher Unwin, Paternoster Square, E.C- 

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TllE great river of Western Europe whose head 
waters are collected in the Lake of Constance, and lose 
themselves in the German Ocean by a thousand 
channels, was for centuries the highway of Western 
commerce and civilization. It was for a long time the 
north-eastern boundary of the Roman Empire, and 
many of the cities which studded its banks were the 
outposts of garrisons of the Roman army. In later 
times certainly, perhaps even in earlier ages, these 
cities were enriched by the merchandise which was 
carried down the stream. 

As the Rhine approaches the borders of the country 
now known collectively as Holland, it begins to divide 
its stream, and the divisions are multiplied at short 
intervals. The flow of its waters once rapid is now 
sluggish. The delta of the Rhine is an accretion from 
the soil which the stream has collected during its 



course. The first Napoleon laid claim to the territory 
of Holland on the ground that its surface was a deposit 
from the distant regions in which the earth was col- 
lected, was hurried along by the rapid river, and 
dropped by the sluggish water courses into which the 
Rhine divided itself. "Now," he argued, "the uplands 
are mine by right of conquest. The lowlands, which 
owe their existence to the river which I have ap- 
propriated, are mine by right of devolution." One 
may dispute the logic of the great captain, but the 

accuracy of his geology is 
incontestable. Holland is 
the creation of the Rhine. 

The rest of the Nether- 
lands, now known politically 
as the Belgium kingdom, is 
not so • obviously the pro- 
duct of great rivers. But 
the greater part of it is an 
unbroken flat, suggesting 
that its area was once a 
JBgJ shallow sea from which the 
dutch windmill. waters have retreated. The 

inhabitants of Holland were, for the most part, of 
Teutonic origin, as were also those of the western sea- 
board of the Netherlands. The south-western district 
was inhabited mainly by a people of Celtic origin. 
These two races were known as Flemish and Walloon. 
In the dawn of history, i.e., for this country, in the 
days when Julius Caesar was engaged in extending the 
Roman Empire over Northern Gaul, and the western 
tribes of the great Teutonic race, the greater part of 


modern Holland was an extensive morass, covered by 
almost impenetrable forests. From time to time the 
barrier which the river was depositing against the 
ocean was invaded by furious storms, and the land was 
submerged. But the river was always building up 
what the sea was occasionally destroying, and the 
earliest instincts of the Hollanders were directed to- 
wards the protection of the land on which they dwelt, 
the land which the sea was always threatening. This 
land, enclosed between the two principal arms of the 
Rhine, was called Batavia, and its inhabitants got the 
name of their country. 

After the conquest of the Belgian races, the 
Batavians became the allies of Rome, at first of the 
fortunes of Caesar, and afterwards of the legions which 
were posted on the German frontier. They remained 
faithful to the Roman Empire till its final extinction, 
with only one interval, that occupied with the revolt of 
Claudius Civilis, a Romanised Batavian, who sought 
to bring about the political independence of his race. 
But the revolt was unsuccessful. The Batavian people 
despaired of success, and fell away from their national 
leader. He resolved on making terms with his old 
comrades, and his recent enemies, and to relinquish 
the cause of those who had no heart to defend it them- 
selves. So he sought a negotiation and an interview. 
How it was concluded we do not know, for the 
narrative of the historian is abruptly broken off here, 
and the sequel of the fortunes of Civilis is irreparably 
lost to history. 

The Batavians aided the Emperor Julian in his vic- 
tory over the Germans at Strasburg (a.d. 357). Shortly 


after this, the inhabitants of the Rhine island, the so- 
called Batavians, disappear from history, and are 
merged in the Frisian, perhaps in the Frankish tribes 
who were now swarming over the Rhine into North- 
western Europe. The Frankish sovereigns, at any rate, 
were the nominal sovereigns of what is now Holland. 
One of these sovereigns, Dagobert Unfounded the first 
Christian church at Utrecht. 

Out of the Brabant town of Landen came the family 
from which Charles the Great was descended. The 
great-grandfather of Charles the Great began the con- 
quests of the Frisians ; his grandfather all but com- 
pleted it. The founders of the first two French 
dynasties were Germans, their language was German, 
and their administration was entirely Teutonic. The 
third dynasty, which is of more obscure origin, and 
survives to our day, is said by some early historians 
to have also been Teutonic. 

The modern Holland, the Batavian inhabitants of 
which were merged in the Frisian race inhabiting the 
extreme north-east of the present kingdom, was con- 
tinuous with Friesland. The great tract now known 
as the Zuyder Zee was land originally, or had been 
fenced from the irruptions of the German Ocean. 
This ocean burst over the land in the thirteenth cen- 
tury, and buried towns and villages permanently 
beneath its waters. These Batavians and Frisians 
came under the control of the great Charles, who left 
them their native customs, they obeying those chiefs 
whom the Emperor of the West put over them. The 
laws of the Frisians declare that the race shall be free, 
as long as the wind blows out of the clouds and the 


world stands. More than seven centuries after the 
reign of Charles the Great had come to an end, this 
charter of freedom was the rallying cry of the Dutch 

The principle upon which the empire of Charles the 
Great was founded was that the chiefs of the several 
races subordinated to the central imperial authority 
should be the emperor's delegates and dependents, but 
that the several races should be governed civilly by 
their own traditions or customs. The emperor should 
have the control of such military forces as the several 
states or races could furnish, and the deputy, count, or 
duke as he might be called, was to be answerable to 
the head of the state for his tribute, or his militia, or 
for both. In the hands of so vigorous, so shrewd, and 
so capable a man as Charles the Great, a system of 
government like this was possible. It was possible in 
his descendants or successors only if they inherited 
his capacity as well as his empire. But the descendants 
of Charles's sons proved themselves as incapable as 
the descendants of Clovis were, and in a far briefer 
period of time. Within three-quarters of a century, 
the emperors of this dynasty ceased to rule, sank 
into petty chieftains, and were finally superseded in 
their French dominions by the third dynasty to which 
I have alluded. 

The succession of the French monarchs and the 
succession of German emperors are equally dated 
from the rise of the house of Charles the Great. The 
French historians ignored the kings of the first 
dynasty, for Louis I. is the son of Charles, just as the 
Norman sovereigns of England ignored the Edwards 


of the race of Egbert. But they recognized as their 
kings those Germans who nominally ruled as the suc- 
cessors of the great Charles from the Pyrenees to the 
Ems, and from the German Ocean to the Tiber. So 
the Holy Roman Empire dates its origin from the 
coronation of Charles the Great. 

Charles the Simple (these latter descendants of the 
first German Emperor always had uncomplimentary 
titles) was ruling in 922 over a fragment of the vast 
empire which had existed a century before, that por- 
tion which is contained in the modern Belgium and 
Holland. In this year, in accordance with the custom 
which has been referred to above, the simple king 
created one Dirk the Count of Holland. The de- 
scendants of Dirk were in existence during the war 
of independence, and took the side of the patriots. 
But Henry the Fowler, Emperor of Germany, had been 
recognized as the successor of Charles the Simple. 
In 925, the subjects of the simple king dethroned and 
imprisoned him, and the Netherlands, as yet loosely 
connected with what afterwards became France, were 
as loosely connected with what is known in history as 
the Holy Roman Empire. We shall see hereafter how 
slight the bond was. 

Part of the policy of Charles the Great was to invest 
the bishops of the newly converted Frisians, Saxons- 
and other German tribes with great wealth and great 
political power. He foresaw in all likelihood how 
difficult it would be to prevent laymen from making 
those dignities hereditary, which his policy intended 
to keep precarious and dependent on submission and 
good behaviour. But it was otherwise with the clergy- 



Their offices were elective or subject to the Crown's 
nomination. They had no heirs, only successors, and 
the succession required the royal confirmation. Hence 
what is known in history as the prince bishoprics were 
created . These prince bishops for near a thousand years 
were characteristic factors in the German Empire. 

One of these prince bishops was the Bishop of 
Utrecht. Christianity had been preached especially 
by English missionaries along the Rhine to the sea. 
Wilfrid, Willibrod, and Winfrid, the latter known also 
as Boniface, were the apostles of Germany and the 

Netherlands. The last of 

these was the first Bishop 
of Mainz, and afterwards 
Bishop of Utrecht. He 
was slain by the pagan 
Frisians at the little town 
of Dokkum in Friesland, 
and is honoured as the 
great saint and proto- 
martyr of Catholic Ger- 


In point of fact, the 
spread of Christianity in these pagan countries en- 
tailed great political and pecuniary sacrifices on 
the converts. Large tracts of land were confiscated 
in order to form the domain of the new bishops, 
the dues of the Church were rigorously enacted from 
landowners whose religion had not hitherto in- 
volved such liabilities, and the slaves and vassals of 
the prince prelates increased with the unsuccessful 
struggles of the reluctant pagans, for defeat meant 


confiscation to the wealthy and slavery to the poor. 
But in the end, after half the population had been 
slaughtered in war, the other half submitted to a form 
of Christianity, which was forcible rather than persua- 
sive. The Bishop of Utrecht became the spiritual 
chief, and in many particulars the temporal chief of 
all Friesland. It was not till the great war of inde- 
pendence that an attempt was made to multiply 
bishoprics in the Netherlands, and when it was made 
it was in the interests of Philip's tyranny and for the 
purpose of strengthening the Spanish Inquisition. 
The character of the Church in the Netherlands must 
be seen, in order to understand the nature of the great 
struggle which will, by and by, be narrated. 

The two potentates of what in after times consti- 
tuted the seven United Provinces, the Dutch Republic 
of later history, and their High Mightinesses, the 
States-General, were in this early time the Count of 
Holland and the Bishop of Utrecht. In the rest of 
the Netherlands, the petty sovereigns became far more 
numerous. The most important of these were the 
Dukes of Brabant, and the Earls of Flanders. But 
there were numerous independent princes of the dis- 
trict now known as Belgium, all privileged to take toll 
and tax from the people whom they had under their 
sway. No central authority controlled them, for the 
German Empire to which they nominally belonged, 
by reason of its own internal dissensions and its long 
struggles with the Pope, waxed feebler and feebler, 
and the French kings had enough to do in their efforts 
to restrain a turbulent and almost independent aristo- 
cracy within their own borders. 


This aristocracy was the common and ever-vigilant, 
ever-conspiring enemy of government, religion, and 
industry. In these remote times the king was the 
exponent of the government, the Church of religion, 
and the town of industry. In order to sustain the first, 
the doctrine of the divine right of kings was invented; 
in order to aid the second, the theory of priestcraft 
was inculcated and enforced ; in order to preserve the 
third, the charter of the town was purchased. The 
French and English kings saw how important it was 
to strengthen themselves against their natural and 
persistent foes by the aid of the towns, and they 
granted their towns charters innumerable, the fullest 
and widest being often conceded by the worst and 
most unpopular monarchs. If indeed king, Church, 
and burgher had always been united against the en- 
croachment of the nobles, the victory would soon have 
been won. Hut the alliance of what may be called 
the conservative forces of society against the disturb- 
ing and destructive elements was rarely close and 
still more rarely enduring. The king and the Church 
were constantly quarrelling, and with varied fortunes, 
till at last the Church became the willing instrument 
of despotism, and the king after having reduced the 
nobles, and employed the Church as his agent, began 
to pillage and harry those who had been the means 
for achieving his victory over the other two. 

Now there was no king in the Netherlands, not 
even a lord paramount, but a host of small autocrats, 
quarrelling for ever among themselves, and therefore 
at their wits' end for the means of maintaining their 
own existence and their feuds. 



But there is no history in these times, nothing, as 
Milton said, but the quarrel of the kites and the crows, 
or as they called themselves in the Netherlands, the 
Hooks and the Kabeljauws, the grotesque factions 
of these flats and swamps. 

vik s*k 





| IB M tl afc »^j 



THE municipal institution of the Roman Empire sur- 
vived, in many places, the downfall of Rome. Towns 
whose comparatively free institutions tower above 
the barbarism of the inroads of Hun, Goth, Frank, 
and Saxon, still exist, whose rights of local self- 
government are in succession from the Roman period, 
though these rights are constantly guaranteed by the 
grant of fresh charters. These towns were specially 
numerous in the South of France. They existed in 
Italy, so long a battlefield for rival invaders. They 
continued on the banks of the Rhine. Such places 
as Marseilles and Nismes in France, Milan and Pisa 
in Italy, Coblentz, Bonn, and Cologne on the Rhine, 
to quote a few instances out of many, never seem 
to have lost their local liberties entirely. The life 
of these liberties may have been feeble, and to all 
appearance, frail, but it was never extinct. Among 
the towns of Roman Britain, some survived the dark 
ages of the Saxon conquest. London is plainly one 
of these. So are probably York in the north, and 
Exeter in the west. 


The modern towns of the Netherlands cannot be 
traced back to the Roman Empire. The Belgians 
and Batavians were not colonized as the greater part 
of the empire was. Hence the rise of the chartered 
town was later in the Netherlands than it was in the 
rest of Western Europe, though when it became a 
municipality the growth of its opulence was rapid. 

The period of the Crusades, in which the Flemish 
counts took a notable part, was the beginning of a 
new epoch. The tide of human emigration flowed 
back for a time from the west to the east, not in 
the permanent form of a race settlement, but in the 
transient one of armed hosts seeking one spot by 
land or sea. The Crusades gave an enormous im- 
pulse to trade, and enriched the commercial cities 
of Italy, such as Venice, Genoa, Pisa, and Florence. 
They elevated the condition of those who survived 
and returned, for a Crusader gained substantial bene- 
fits by his venture. They elevated the condition of 
those who remained, for the funds needed in order 
to carry on the expedition were supplied in exchange 
for local liberties and the right of trade associations. 
Besides, the exodus left higher wages, higher profits, 
and more secure institutions for those who laboured 
at home. The nobles began to see that voluntary 
grants, and the regular payment of dues from pros- 
perous towns were a more certain source of income 
than the plunder of impoverished peasants and 
burghers, and the rapine of what was left to the 
miserable. Commercial prosperity constantly appears 
to accompany war, though re-action is sure to super- 
vene. But the liberties which were purchased by solid 


gold and silver could not easily be purloined. Besides, 
the immediate return to violence was not safe or 
politic. The nobles soon saw that the improvement 
of their own fortunes and prospects depended on the 
opulence of the towns which were under their sway. 

The form of these early charters is generally the 
same. The municipal authorities guarantee the fixed 
dues which they acknowledge themselves indebted 
in to their lord. In other words, he enters into the 
enjoyment of a fixed rent charge, secured on the 
revenues of the city and the goods of the citizens. 
The lord gives them the right of being tried by their 
own magistrates ; in other words, of regaining a 
custom which was traditional among all Germanic 
tribes. These magistrates, mayors, and aldermen in 
England, Echevins or Schepens in the Netherlands, 
were at first nominated by the overlord, and for 
long periods, but were soon elected by the citizens. 
As was customary, almost universal, offences were 
expiated by fines, which went to the count or the 
town exchequer, or even to the local judges. The 
municipality, in short, was constructed on the model 
of a manor, wherever in the manor the traditional 
customs of the people were respected and preserved. 
Only the strength of the town gave a more enduring 
guarantee to the grant of local liberties. It was a 
peculiarity in these towns that the inhabitants were 
free men. In England residence for a year and a 
day in a chartered town barred for ever all rights 
of a lord over his serf. 

In order to prevent, these towns from becoming 
a mere asylum for runaway serfs, vagabonds, outlaws, 


and the like, the institution of guilds or trading 
companies was essential to municipal liberties and 
contemporaneous with them. Every freeman had to 
be enrolled in a guild. Generally the entrance to 
this guild was obtained by a seven years' apprentice- 
ship, during which the aspirant to municipal rights 
underwent a qualified servitude. In most towns, 
membership in a guild became an hereditary right, 
descending from father to son. As the town became 
more opulent, the rights of a freeman were obtained by 
purchase. In course of time the lesser nobles sought 
admission into these trading companies, and, at last, 
even some of the greater nobles. The deans and 
masters of these guilds eventually monopolized the 
municipal government, and extinguished the ancient 
right of free election. It might well be asserted, 
however, that the process was really elective, more 
certain to select the most competent men, and more 
safe than a popular, perhaps tumultuous, election. 

Still these Netherland towns might have remained 
small and struggling municipalities, but for the 
fortunate concurrence of several facts which, taken 
together, raised them rapidly to opulence. They 
became almost suddenly the traders and manu- 
facturers of Northern Europe. 

I. The Crusades had developed an extraordinary 
military activity in Western Europe, had generally 
suspended war at home, and had greatly stimulated 
commerce. The spirit of the Crusaders died out, 
the wars of Europe recommenced, but commercial 
activity survived. The spices and other goods of 
the East, sometimes conveyed by overland caravans 






and through towns, then flourishing, but afterwards 
destroyed by hordes of barbarians from Central and 
far Eastern Asia — sometimes by the Red Sea and 
Egypt — were collected at Venice and Genoa, and 
thence transmitted to Europe. These goods went 
over the passes of the Alps to the Rhine, and thence 
were conveyed down the river way, chiefly to Bruges, 
the city of the Bridges. It was but a slender rivulet 
of trade compared with the volume which the Dutch 
Republic carried, but it was singularly fertilizing. 
During its continuance, however, Bruges was in the 
first rank of commercial towns. 

2. At an early date, and after the pacification of 
Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, a century or so after 
these countries had ceased to swarm with the pirates 
who desolated the shores of Northern Europe and 
even penetrated into the Mediterranean, a number of 
towns on the coast of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, 
and the Baltic, associated themselves together for 
trading purposes and mutual defence under the name 
of the Hanseatic League. The centre of this league 
is said to have been Bergen on the coast of Norway ; 
the treasury of the traders to have been Wisby in the 
island of Gothland. The rapidity with which this 
league grew and flourished, the favour which it re- 
ceived from princes and prelates, are evidence of the 
value and volume of the merchandise in which they 
trafficked, and the magnitude of the markets which 
they visited. Their factories were planted in or gave 
occasion to the numerous free towns on the coast of 
Northern Europe ; into the association with which 
European capitals and cities on the seaboard were 



glad to be introduced. The trade of the Hanseatic 
League was specially in raw materials, and the 
Netherland towns were eager customers for these 
materials. Hemp and flax, fur and hides, were 
regularly transmitted to these towns, and formed the 
means by which the Flemish burghers monopolized 
the industry of Western Europe and accumulated 
their wealth. 

3. Perhaps the most important factor in the wealth 
of the Netherlands at this early period was that it 
became in one town or another the sole market for 
English wool, and England in the early ages of 
Flemish industry was the only country from which 
this indispensable article could be supplied, at least 
in any quantity, and the only country also from 
which it was supplied of good quality. The fact is, 
England was well-nigh the only European country 
where the peace was kept, where robbery and 
violence, such as ran riot in most European coun- 
tries, owing to the insubordination and ferocity of 
the nobles, were repressed, and the law by which the 
farmer's stock was protected was universally obeyed. 
The writer has read many thousands of farm accounts 
in the period to which he is referring, and it is rare 
indeed, in the elaborate and exact enumeration of 
all farm stock and produce from year to year, that 
complaint is made of losses by theft or violence. It 
was not so with the rest of Europe. What was a safe 
agricultural pursuit in England, was so dangerous and 
risky on the Continent, that the calling of the shep- 
herd and the rearing of sheep were always rare and 
often unknown. 


Not only was this the case, but the varieties of 
English wool in quality and therefore in value were 
numerous. The brands of wool, as merchants would 
say, were as many, as important, and as variable in 
value, as the qualities of wine are at the present 
time. Now it is true that there were woollen manu- 
factures in England, perhaps sufficient to supply the 
ordinary wants of most Englishmen, but the skill of 
the English weaver was far below that of the Flemish. 
The finest cloths were woven in Flanders, and were 
thence distributed over Europe. 

Friendship with England, therefore, and the unin- 
terrupted import of this prime staple were of the 
greatest importance to the Flemish towns, and it was 
the object of the Counts of Flanders to court the 
good-will of the English sovereigns and people. 
From the time of the Edwards (1272) to the end oi 
the time of the Tudors (1603) free intercourse with 
the Low Countries was of profound interest to England 
and the Netherlands. If this trade were interrupted, 
thousands of looms would lie idle, and poverty would 
show itself in the Flemish cities. If it were restored, 
the same looms would anew become busy, and wealth 
would be rapidly accumulated. 

It was not, however, in woollen goods only that the 
Low Countries were superior to the rest of Europe. 
They had a similar reputation in the manufacture of 
linen cloth. Some of the names of the various kinds 
of cloth are taken from the country, or from places in 
the country. Thus serviceable linen for clothing and 
for table use went by the generic name of Holland. 
Diaper was the special product of the town of 


D'ypres. Linen is described as coming from Brabant 
and Brussels as well as from other places, and all 
these articles are high-priced. It is true that some- 
times Netherlanders moved over to the eastern 
counties of England, bringing with them their skill 
and their looms, but this occurred rarely and fitfully. 
It was not till the war of independence and the 
persecution of the Spanish Inquisition fully set in, 
that the Flemish weavers migrated in thousands to 
England and carried with them the skill, which 
rapidly gave England the supremacy in textile manu- 
facture which she still enjoys. The wealth of these 
burghers was the strength and wealth of their counts, 
and many a European sovereign was far less securely 
opulent than these many potentates were who occu- 
pied a country which was collectively smaller than 
any European kingdom. 

The dukes and counts of the Netherlands were not 
slow to discern that the prosperity of their subjects 
was a matter of profound interest to the nobles, and 
that the concession of privileges would be a plentiful 
source of riches and strength to themselves. The 
communities became practically little republics. In 
course of time, the towns took common counsel 
together in assemblies which assisted in the general 
government. The deputies of the town met the 
nobles in the gatherings of the provincial estates. 
What became an early practice in Flanders, was soon 
adopted in Holland, and the Netherlands became 
gradually familiar with parliamentary action. But 
singularly enough, the clergy in the Netherlands did 
not become one of the estates. The Netherlanders 


did not from the beginning care to intrust their 
liberties to the Church. They were devout enough. 
They built magnificent churches, and decorated them 
lavishly. Long before any pictorial art was known in 
England the Netherlands had their schools of painting, 
even as early, it seems, as Italy had. 

It is true that these cities were quarrelsome and 
combative. Pent up in these hives of industry and 
concentrated on their homes, they sometimes justified, 
by their riotous violence, the interference of their 
overlords, and the curtailment of their liberties. The 
ringing of the town bell was the signal of a dis- 
turbance — perhaps the occasion of it. But the 
burghers of Ghent were as proud of Roland, their 
town bell, as they were of their children. And after 
all, occasional turbulence was ill exchanged for the 
despair and misery which despotism at last brought 
upon this thriving country, when in the end the 
whole of it fell into the hands of the house of 
Burgundy, and thence to those of Austrian Spain. 




IN early days, the dukedoms, countships, and other 
titles of nobility, coupled as they always were with 
the lordship over estates, and the inhabitants thereof, 
were merely official, and were not intended to descend 
from father to son. But they soon became hereditary, 
and those who held this rank strove with great success 
to make themselves independent. In France and 
Germany, at the beginning of the eleventh century, 
the king and emperor had less power than many of 
their nominal subjects. After centuries of labour in 
this direction, the king of France contrived to bring 
his nobles into subjection. But at the beginning of the 
present century, there were nigh upon four hundred 
independent princes and kinglets in Germany. 

At a crisis in French history, the Court lawyers of 
France declared that women could neither sit on the 
throne nor transmit a title to it through their de- 
scendants. The result of the English claim to the 
throne of France was a war which lasted for a 
hundred years, off and on, and a claim to sovereignty 


over France which was only relinquished in the 
present century. From the accession of Hugh Capet 
(978) to the present time this family has never lacked 
male descendants. No other such regal house has 
existed in Europe. In England the royal house has 
died out on the male side no less than five times, and 
the inheritance has passed to or through females. 

But the great peerages, duchies, and other titles in 
the French kingdom were not under the so-called 
Salic law. It was by female descent that the English 
King Henry II. (11 54-1 189) possessed or claimed the 
whole seaboard of France, from the mouth of the 
Seine to the mouth of the Rhone. A woman, there- 
fore, could transmit the rights of her ancestor over 
his subjects to a stranger, and thus the marriages of 
princes have changed from time to time the political 
geography of Europe. The domains of the house 
of Austria were built up by fortunate marriages. It 
was by such marriages that the Netherlands came 
first into the power of the Dukes of Burgundy, and 
thence to the Spanish branch of the Austrian line. 

The origin of the house of Burgundy, so powerful 
during the fifteenth century and so tragically con- 
cluded, was a grant of that Duchy, the principal town 
of which was Dijon, made by John of France (1351 — 
1364), called the Good, most undeservedly, to his 
youngest son. Towards the conclusion of the four- 
teenth century, this family had become powerful, and 
exercised a disastrous influence over the fortunes of 
France. When Charles the Sixth of France became 
insane (1392), this Duke of Burgundy became regent. 
He died in 1404. His son murdered the Duke of 


of Orleans in 1407, and was himself murdered by 
the Dauphin in 1419 at Montereau. His son, who 
goes by the historical name of Philip the Good,* most 
undeservedly, ruled his duchy down to 1467. 

This Philip the Good, besides his own duchy, had 
inherited in the Netherlands the counties of Flanders 
and Artois. He purchased the county of Namur. 
He usurped the Duchy of Brabant. He dispossessed 
his cousin Jacqueline of Holland, Zealand, Hainault, 
and Friesland, these several counties or provinces 
having descended to her by the same kind of succes- 
sion. His dominions extended from the foot of the 
Alps to the German Ocean, and comprised what was 
then the wealthiest part of Northern Europe. The 
original provinces of the Netherlands were seventeen, 
and he was now overlord of all. 

In these times, it became a current doctrine among 
princes and their counsellors that subjects, especially 
those engaged in industry, and on whose industry not 
only the wealth, but the very existence of the country 
depended, had no rights against their lords. This was 
the view entertained by the English James, and 
constantly asserted by him. In pursuance of this doc- 
trine it was held that no plighted word, no promise, 
no oath was binding on a sovereign, and that a tem- 
porary limitation of his powers, declared by him to be 
perpetual, was no more valid than a pledge given under 
threats. James vapoured about his divine rights. 
His son Charles tried to put the thing into practice, 
with the most disastrous consequences to himself. 

In earlier times, the word or the oath of the king 
was binding. But the Popes, always for a considera- 


tion, assumed the power of freeing the king from his 
oaths, and of holding him harmless if he committed 
perjury. The English people did not relish the 
doctrine, and they took short and sharp measures 
with the two kings, John and Henry the Third, who 
availed themselves of these pontifical assurances, 
John would have been deposed, but for his opportune 
death. Henry would have been deposed, but he was 
old, and his son, whose word could be trusted, broke 
with the custom. 

As the political authority of the Pope was lessened, 
the European princes took the option of keeping the 
pledges which they had made or inherited with their 
dominions into their own hands. They did not do it 
in England, for there were some awkward precedents 
of resistance and deposition which the most masterful 
and haughty of the English kings remembered and 
dreaded. A cynical Frenchman of the eighteenth 
century was wont to say, that on January 30th every 
European king woke up in the morning with a crick 
in his neck. There were other days which the English 
kings thought of before 1649, when they were tempted 
to tamper with popular liberties. 

At the time when Philip, surnamed the Good, 
acquired the complete and undivided sovereignty of 
the Netherlands, that country had reached the height 
of its prosperity, and the full enjoyment of its 
chartered liberties. The sovereign had his authority. 
The nobles had their place in the Council. But the 
municipal authorities, though checked by these two 
forces, had a solid and substantial influence over both. 
The form of these institutions was oligarchical, the 


fact was that they were popular, for the burghers were 
too strong and too turbulent to be disregarded. 

In the assemblies of the estates, the authority of 
the prince was represented by the stadtholder, in the 
absence of the prince. When the Netherlands were 
united under one sovereign the stadtholder became a 
permanent institution, as well as a convenient 
substitute. He checked the overbold demands of 
the towns, and asked the estates to grant taxes, or 
more frequently lump sums to their lords. The 
nobles voted on the request. The cities, if they had 
received instructions to do so, bargained as to the 
grant. If they had not, they claimed a day or an 
adjournment, in order to consult their principals. 
Unfortunately the deputies came with limited powers, 
and the cities were jealous of each other. The 
engrained habit of municipal isolation was the cause 
why the general liberties of the Netherlands were 
imperilled, why the larger part of the country was 
ultimately ruined, and why the war of independence 
was conducted with so much risk and difficulty, even 
in the face of the most serious perils. 

It is important here, however, in telling the story of 
Holland, to mention another fact in the social condi- 
tion of the country, which found no place in the 
previous description of its resources and powers. At 
a comparatively early period, the date of which is 
uncertain, the Flemish and Dutch fishermen devoted 
themselves with great success to the herring fishery, 
and subsequently to improvements in the art of curing 
them. The merit of these discoveries was ascribed to 
Beukelszoon of Biervliet in Zealand, who died in 


1447. But, on the other hand, the most authentic 
account of the process makes no mention of the 
man, but only of the place. It is probable that the 
reputation of Beukelszoon is due to the fact that 
Charles V. and his sister paid a visit to his tomb and 
offered up prayers for his soul. 

We cannot in our days imagine how important were 
the fisheries to our forefathers, and how interested they 
were in any process which efficiently cured fish. Owing 
to the absence of nearly all 
kinds of winter food for 
animals, except hay, the 
diet of most persons during 
the winter was salted pro- 
visions. But the discipline 
of the Church prescribed 
a fish diet during divers 
periods of the year, and 
the consumption of salted 
fish was enormous. The 
fisheries of the German 
Ocean, at first frequented^ 
by the Flemings and sub- 
sequently almost occupied by the Hollanders, be- 
came a mine of wealth, second only to the manu- 
factures and commerce of the Flemish cities. They 
were also the nursery of the Dutch navy, of those 
amphibious mariners who struck the first blow for 
Dutch independence, and became the ancestors of 
that succession of brave sea captains, who crushed 
the maritime supremacy of Spain, founded the Bata- 
vian empire of Holland in the tropics, engaged in 



an unequal struggle with England, and sustained for 
a century the reputation of Holland, after its real 
commercial greatness had declined. Though Holland 
was constantly in danger from the ocean, it was from 
the ocean that she derived her wealth and her means 
for fighting in the struggle for independence. She 
chose with reason the symbol which she adopted for 
her flag — a lion struggling with the waves, and her 
motto, Luctor et emergo, " I struggle, I rise." 

For a time Philip had been the guardian of his 
cousin Jacqueline of Holland, and in this capacity 
he had sworn to maintain the privileges and institu- 
tions of the Netherlands. But after he had dispos- 
sessed his ward, he notified to the cities and estates, 
through the Council of Holland, that all these oaths 
were to be deemed null and void, unless he gave them 
his new and personal confirmation. He held himself 
bound by no obligation, and acted to the full on the 
doctrine that there was nothing binding on a prince 
— a doctrine by no means extinct in the present 
generation, as European peoples have found to their 
cost. It may be well to illustrate the action which 
he took after he had declared this judgment of his 
own, as to his true position and rights. 

The alliance of the English with the Dukes of 
Burgundy was essential towards their maintaining 
the position which they won by the battle of Agin- 
court and the subsequent successes of the Duke of 
Bedford, who had married Philip's sister. After her 
death Bedford instantly married a Flemish heiress, 
as his brother Gloucester had sought the hand of 
another Flemish heiress, to Philip's great indignation 


eight years before (1424). But it was not till after 
the death of Bedford in 1435, that Philip made his 
peace with the French king and so virtually expelled 
the English from Eastern France. In the next year 
he declared war against England, and appealed to 
the burghers and nobles of Flanders, for means and 
men. It was granted or promised, but we may be 
sure with a heavy heart, for a rupture with England 
was a serious injury to Flemish industry. It will 
be seen that their hearts were not in the struggle. 

In the early summer of 1436 Philip determined to 
lay siege to Calais, the port which gave the English 
an entry at once into France and Flanders. He 
marched with 14,000 Flemish troops to invest the 
place, and bade the seneschal of Brabant to close the 
port by the fleet of Holland. But the fleet was long 
in coming ; Calais was strengthened and provisioned, 
and the seneschal was forced to retire. The English 
made a sally, the Flemings fled in disorder, the siege 
was raised, and Philip was forced to disband his 

The discontent which followed on this unlucky 
expedition and on the reprisals which were taken in 
consequence, excited the most violent disturbances 
in Flanders. The cities of Ghent and Bruges were 
conspicuous in their indignation. In the former they 
killed or banished those whom they believed to have 
caused the miscarriage of the expedition ; in the 
latter where the Duchess of Burgundy and her young 
son, afterwards Charles the Headstrong, were residing, 
they detained them as they were flying, and im- 
prisoned their attendants. When Philip gained an 
















entry into Bruges, partly by negotiation, partly by 
a display of force, the insurrection broke out. For 
a time the duke was confined in the city, and was 
in great danger. He escaped however, blockaded 
the city, and with it put a stop to Flemish commerce. 
At last half-starved and ruined for a time, with the 
loss of 20,000 persons by famine and pestilence, the 
city surrendered, paid an enormous fine to their duke, 
and practically yielded their municipal privileges to 
his discretion. The Flemings were beginning to find 
that their prosperity was risked on the intrigues of 
royal and princely persons. But for some time Philip 
abstained from further interference in the war. 

In 1448 Philip attempted to impose a new tax on 
salt, by his own will and without the consent of the 
Estates. The people of Ghent took energetic steps 
in defence of their liberties. After a struggle of four 
years' duration, Ghent was reduced to submission 
was heavily fined and deprived of many of its ancient 
privileges. "The Flemish city which had long been 
the centre of Flemish liberties, now fell under a 
heavy and humiliating yoke." I refer to these facts, 
in order to show that as the Netherlands were united 
under one sovereign, the liberties which had been 
granted to them were imperilled. Meanwhile the 
Duke of Burgundy had striven to raise a party on his 
own side among the nobles, by instituting the Order 
of the Golden Fleece. 



Philip, misnamed the Good, that crafty, splendid, 
thrifty duke, died in 1467, and was succeeded by his 
son, well named Charles the Headstrong (le Tem£- 
raire). The father began to destroy the liberties of 
the Netherlands ; the son completed the work — the 
one with caution, the other with ferocious brutality. 
Philip had practically held the balance between 
England and France. His alliance had almost 
secured the conquest of France by the English, his 
defection had secured France to the French. But 
he had done too much harm to France to be really 
trusted by the French king, and too much service 
to be ever adequately compensated. In the later 
years of his life he had given an asylum to the 
Dauphin, afterwards Louis XL, between whom and 
his father the deepest and most natural distrust 
existed. Louis XL, who became king of France in 
1461, played with matchless cunning against the 
violence of his quondam friend, Charles, as soon as he 
succeeded to his dukedom, baffled all his projects, 


enticed him to his ruin, and appropriated the French 
provinces of his only daughter and heir. 

The principal object which Charles had before him 
was to make himself a king - , the monarch of a long 
tract of country which stretched from the German 
Ocean to the Mediterranean. To this object he clung 
with a tenacity of purpose which characterized no 
other of his projects. But he held his dominions 
under two overlords. The Emperor of Germany 
had nominal rights over the Netherlands, and accord- 
ing to the law of Europe of that time, and for a long 
time after, was the sole manufacturer of new kings. 
Perhaps he might have succeeded in negotiating the 
matter with Frederic the Third, called the Lazy, who 
ruled over the German Empire for fifty-three years, 
only he thought the emperor's son not good enough 
for his daughter, to whom indeed she was married 
after the death of Charles. 

But he had another sort of person to deal with in 
Louis the Crafty. For three centuries the French 
kings had been engaged persistently in securing their 
dominion over the whole of France, and in putting 
down the arrogance of their nobles. Philip Augustus 
had deprived John of half his continental possessions, 
and would have expelled him from the whole, only 
John's mother being still alive, he could not deprive 
her of her inheritance. Charles V., called the Wise, 
had completed the conquest. Two generations after- 
wards, and the English kings had not only regained 
their ancient possessions, but had even been called to 
the French throne. Again had they been expelled, 
just before Louis the Crafty had come to the throne. 



He was not likely to allow the fundamental principle 
of the French monarchy, viz., to assimilate and unite 
to France all that was or had been French territory 
to be set at naught. 

There was nothing which Louis would not promise 
or swear. His promises cost him nothing to break as 
soon as he could break them with safety. His oath 
was as good as his word, and both were worth nothing. 
Curious inquirers speculated on what oath would bind 
his conscience, and professed to have discovered it in 
a particular title of the Virgin Mary. But there is 
grave doubt on this subject. Now what could a wild 
headstrong duke, who took counsel with nothing but 
his own passions, and turned everything to the objects 
of his personal ambition, do against this cool, crafty, 
perfidious monarch, on whom no law, human or 
divine, had any binding force, who saw so clearly 
through his rival's designs and could turn even his 
successes against him ? The French nobles stirred up 
the war of the Public good, and Charles took their 
part. He vanquished Louis at the battle of Mont- 
lhery (1465) and Louis gained all the advantages of 
victory. In 1468, Louis took the unaccountable step 
of throwing himself into the power of his enemy. As 
he was at Peronne news came of the rising of Liege, 
and he was imprisoned. He had to make terms with 
his foe ; he seemed to be vanquished, but he came out 
in the end victorious. 

The ambition, the wars, the prodigality of Charles 
left him no resource but to pillage the Netherlands. 
His pride, his insolence, his ferocity, displayed in 
childhood before Bruges, led him to oppress them. 



He could not endure the appearance of resistance to 
his will, or even the possibility of it. He centralized 
a despotism in Holland, governed the country by his 
deputies, and taxed it at his pleasure. He removed 
its supreme court from the Hague to Mechlin, where 
the Court would be under his control, and he main- 
tained a standing army against the liberties of the 

The unfortunate constitution of the Netherlander, 
destined through the war of 
independence, and for cen- 
turies afterwards to induce 
weakness in their counsels, 
and disunion among them- 
selves, aided the projects of 
Charles, as it did that of 
Margaret, of Alva, of Re- 
quesens, of Parma. 

The Flemish towns were 
practically little republics, 
though not so in form. They 
were busy, energetic, popu- 
lous. But except in the fact 
that they were eager to vindicate their privileges, they 
had no other common purpose. Flanders had no 
national unity ; on the contrary, the several cities were 
isolated, suspicious, and jealous of each other. It even 
seems that their commerical rivalry was so keen from 
time to time, as to make one city such as Ghent or 
Bruges contented or even pleased at the depression 
or even ruin of the other. A shrewd and active despot 
could therefore destroy the liberties of the Nether- 



lands, by attacking the cities in detail, being pretty 
sure that the imperilled liberties, say of Bruges, would 
not seriously awaken the sympathies or secure the 
active assistance of Ghent. 

Again, though this mischief was not developed till 
a later day, the Netherlander suffered from the mis- 
fortune ol a titled and powerful aristocracy, which 
though often turbulent, was extravagant, violent, and 
treacherous. We shall see when we part company 
with the ten obedient provinces, and confine ourselves 
entirely to the history of Holland, that the folly, the 
extravagance, and the treachery of the Flemish nobles 
was a principal factor in the imperfect success ol 
William of Orange and his energetic son. In the 
struggle which the Italian republics made for liberty, 
it was soon discovered that the nobles could not be 
trusted. They were therefore excluded from all share 
in the government. In course of time the Florentines 
went further, and got rid of a turbulent, treacherous, 
or dangerous citizen, by putting him into the ranks of 
the nobility and thereby effacing him. It would have 
been well for the Netherlands had such a policy been 
adopted in their estates. 

At first, Charles the Headstrong treated his Flemish 
subjects with greater kindness than any of their 
previous overlords. His father, as has been stated 
above, declared himself free from the obligations of 
his predecessors, and from the conditions under which 
he had entered into their inheritance. There is little 
doubt that the emissaries of Louis the Crafty stirred 
up the Netherlander to demand the restoration of 
their privileges. He wished to find his most danger- 


ous enemy employment, and to prevent him from 
meddling again in the affairs of France. But at first 
Charles disappointed him. He was, to be sure, 
secretly indignant with the people of Ghent, on 
account of the danger they had put him in, and the 
promises they constrained him to make. However, 
he confirmed the privileges of the towns to Ghent, to 
Brussels, to Brabant, to Antwerp, to Malines, and to 
a host of others. 

This moderation did not last long. The people of 
Liege rebelled and were subdued. Charles deprived 
them of their municipal rights, and forced the other 
Flemish cities to surrender theirs. He superseded their 
magistrates, and exacted taxes from them without 
waiting for their consent, or respecting their refusal. 
The burghers of Liege broke out with a new rebellion, 
and that at the moment when Louis the Crafty, who 
was charged, perhaps justly, with having roused this 
revolt, was in the power of Charles at Peronne, a place 
where Charles the Simple, a former king of France, 
had been imprisoned and murdered 560 years before. 
For a time it was feared that Charles would follow 
the ancient precedent. But he took counsel, com- 
pelled Louis to accept humiliating conditions, and, 
among other particulars, to renounce all sovereignty 
over the French provinces of the duchy of Burgundy, 
and all interference in the affairs of the Netherlands. 
Louis was forced to comply, and even to take part in 
the punishment of Liege. From henceforth the Duke 
of Burgundy found no obstacle to his projects against 
the liberties of the Netherlanders, and in particular he 
established a complete military despotism in Holland. 


At last Charles the Headstrong quarrelled with the 
Swiss. He had appointed one Hagembach as his 
deputy in a district of Alsace which was frequented 
by Swiss merchants. The deputy plundered them, 
and Charles paid no attention to the complaints of 
the Swiss envoys. In 1474, the inhabitants of Brisach 
captured Hagembach, tried him, and executed him. 
On November 13th, they first came into collision 
with the Burgundians, near Hericourt, and routed 
them decisively. 

Charles did not attack them in person till the 
beginning of the year 1476. On March 3rd, he met 
them at Granson, near the Lake of Neufchatel. 
When the battle had raged near six hours, when no 
impression had been made on the mountaineers, and 
some of the best of the Burgundian captains had 
fallen, the mist which hung over the battle rose, and 
the astonished army of Charles saw the second division 
of the Swiss peasants descending upon them, fresh and 
eager for the fight. A panic seized the Burgundian 
army ; Charles himself was hurried away in the rout, 
and all his treasure fell into the hands of the Swiss. 
His diamonds, we are told, were sold by the captors 
for trifling sums. They imagined that his vessels of 
gold and silver were copper and tin. Of these dia- 
monds the three largest came ultimately into the 
possession of the Pope, the Emperor of Germany, 
and the King of France, and are still in the tiara and 
crowns of these potentates. 

The soldiers of Charles, whom he summoned to 
his standard by the threat of punishing them as 
deserters, reassembled at Lausanne, and marched to 


Morat, near Berne. Thither the Swiss confederates 
also marched. On June 22nd, the battle was joined, 
and the Swiss again defeated Charles, with immense 
slaughter. Charles again had to fly, and did not draw 
bridle till he reached the Lake of Geneva. 

He was beside himself with rage, and henceforth 
his actions were those of a madman. He had been 
twice beaten by peasants whom he despised, and had 
lost his treasures and artillery. The rich cities of the 
Netherlands could make good his losses, and he re- 
solved on a third attempt. On October 22nd, he 
undertook the siege of Nancy. On Christmas Day 
the Swiss marched to relieve it. On January 5th, he 
met his enemies and perished. Two days afterwards 
his body was discovered, or was thought to be dis- 
covered, amid a heap of slain, and frozen into a muddy 
stream. The end of no person in that age was more 
tragic. He seemed at one time to be the foremost 
man in Europe. ,• 

Louis the Crafty at once despoiled his daughter of 
her French possessions, and wished to get the guar- 
dianship of her and her patrimony in the Nether- 
lands. But the Netherlanders knew the old fox too 
well by this time. They thought that they might 
recover their liberties from her ; they knew that his 
rule would be even worse than that of Charles. 



WHEN tyrants come to violent deaths, there is 
constantly a belief, engendered of terror, that they 
are not dead after all, but that they will reappear, to 
take vengeance on those who have rejoiced at their 
fate. For a long time there was a persistent belief 
in ancient Rome that Nero was not dead. For six or 
seven years many in the Netherlands dreaded the re- 
appearance of Charles the Headstrong. 

But most men were convinced of his death. The 
Netherlanders took advantage of it at once, and 
claimed even more than their own liberties. They 
knew that the old fox, who had already occupied 
Burgundy, was gaping wide for their country. They 
were willing to assist Mary in retaining her inheri- 
tance in the Low Countries. So the Estates were 
summoned to Ghent in this hour of supreme danger. 
Of course money was demanded, now with some 
reason. There was remonstrance indeed, for the 
States declare that they are impoverished by enor- 
mous taxation and ruinous wars — taxation levied in 



defiance of their charters — wars undertaken without 
their consent. 

In answer to these demands, Mary granted the 
"Great Privilege," the Magna Charta of the Nether- 
lands. It was this constitution which Mary's grand- 
son violated, which the Netherlanders took up arms 
to recover and maintain, which Holland fought for 
during more than fifty years, and finally secured. It 
provided that offices should be filled by natives only ; 
that the Great Council and Supreme Court of Hol- 
land should be re-established, and should be a court 
of appeal, having no jurisdiction over the other tri- 
bunals ; that the cities and estates should hold diets 
when they chose ; that no new taxes should be im- 
posed without the consent of the estates ; that no 
war should be undertaken without the consent of the 
estates ; that the language of the people should be 
used in all public and legal documents; that the seat 
of government should be at the Hague ; that the 
Estates should alone regulate the currency, and that 
the sovereign should come in person before the 
Estates when supply was required. The Estates also 
took care that the citizens should be protected against 
arbitrary imprisonment. 

The constitution of the Netherlands, repeated in all 
the States, is the freest and fullest which any country 
had attained to or preserved. Perhaps when Mary 
granted it, and promised to keep it, she meant what 
she did and said. But whether it was that she be- 
thought herself of that common doctrine of princes in 
those days, that subjects have no rights against their 
rulers, that rulers are not bound to speak the truth, or 


keep their word, a doctrine by no means dead even in 
our days ; or whether she was persuaded that she had 
derogated from her dignity in granting what her 
father had tyrannously withheld, it is certain that 
she or her counsellors intrigued with the old French 

Louis thought it would pay better to betray her 
counsellors, and to furnish the fact that they were 
traitors to their country, to their colleagues, and to 
the Great Privilege. So it came out. They were 
seized in Ghent, instantly tried and instantly be- 
headed. The duchess clad in mourning, weeping, 
with her hair dishevelled, and on foot, besought the 
burghers to spare their lives. It was in vain. The 
citizens were not content to accept her apologies, for 
they had gained their privileges, and were near losing 
them. The distress of Mary has claimed the sym- 
pathy of the sentimental. But it is one of the most 
inevitable and disheartening results of hereditary 
rank, that it breeds hereditary lackeys. One result, 
however, came out of the old fox's perfidy. Mary 
would have none of his, or those who were allied to 

She married Maximilian of Hapsburg, son and 
successor of Frederic the Sleepy, and with the con- 
sent of the Netherianders. Maximilian was a king, 
soon to be an emperor, with vast necessities and 
narrow means. He became from time to time the 
pensioner and the tool of most of the Western kings. 
He was ever on the look out for money, whatever the 
source might be signifying little to him, and whatever 
the conditions might be of procuring it. But his 


father lived fourteen years after he married Mary, and 
she had died nine years before her husband was 

Five years after her marriage Mary of Burgundy died 
from a fall off her horse, and her son Philip succeeded 
her, being then four years old. Maximilian claimed 
to be the guardian of his son, and the governor of the 
country. But the Flemings refused this arrangement, 
probably because they had a tolerably clear idea as 
to how the King of the Romans could fulfil the 
functions of ruler. In 1488 Maximilian tried to 
surprise Bruges, where the young Duke was residing. 
Unlucky for him he was made prisoner himself, had 
to submit to terms, and give hostages. Unfortunately 
the Hollanders, and some of the other cities, were 
more concerned for the young Duke than they were 
for their liberties, and left Bruges to struggle alone 
with the King of the Romans. Maximilian borrowed 
an army from his father, conquered the cities in detail, 
revoked the Great Privilege, slew the burghers of the 
towns, and fined the inhabitants for asserting their 
unquestioned rights. During the tfme of his regency, 
Maximilian the Pauper made every use he could of 
his opportunities, and the Netherlands had to bear 
the consequences. 

In 1494, Philip, now seventeen years of age, be- 
came sovereign of the Netherlands. But he would 
only swear to maintain the privileges granted by his 
grandfather and great-grandfather, Charles and Philip, 
and refused to acquiesce in the Great Privilege of his 
mother. The Estates acquiesced. For a time, Fries- 
land, the outlying province of Holland, was severed 


from it. It was free, and it chose as its elective 
sovereign the Duke of Saxony. After a time he sold 
his sovereignty to the house of Hapsburg. The 
dissensions of the Estates had put them at the mercy 
of an autocratic family. 

Philip of Burgundy, in 1496, married Joanna, 
daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella. In 1500 his 
son Charles was born, who was afterwards Charles 
the Fifth, Duke of the Netherlands, but also King of 
Spain, Emperor of Germany, King of Jerusalem, and, 
by the grant of Alexander the Sixth, alias Roderic 
Borgia and Pope, lord of the whole new world. 
Joanna, his mother, through whom he had this vast 
inheritance, went mad, and remained mad during her 
life and his. Charles not only inherited his mother's 
and father's sovereignties, but his grandfather's also. 
No wonder that he aspired to universal dominion, 
and that his son Philip of Spain laboured during his 
whole life to secure it. 

The peril which the liberties of the Netherlands 
were now running was greater than ever. They had 
been drawn into the hands of that dynasty which, 
beginning with two little Spanish kingdoms, had in 
a generation developed into the mightiest of mon- 
archies. Ferdinand married Isabella. He was king 
of the little kingdom of Arragon, she heiress of 
Castile. They had two daughters, Joan who married 
Philip of the Netherlands, Catherine who married 
first Arthur, and afterwards Henry of England. 
Ferdinand and Isabella conquered the whole of 
Spain and in a way united it. The queen aided 
Columbus in his discovery of America. The Pope 



Alexander the Sixth, himself a Spaniard by descent, 
bestowed by his Bull, the whole of America, i.e., the 
West of the Atlantic on Spain, and the whole of the 
East of the Atlantic on Portugal. There was just 
this excuse for Alexander's Bull, that Portugal and 
Spain were the pioneers at the time of maritime dis- 
covery in the East and West respectively ; for Spanish 
enterprise discovered the new world, Portuguese en- 
terprise doubled the Cape of Good Hope. As yet, 
however, no one anticipated what these discoveries 
and grants would lead to. Moreover, though with 
growing hesitation, Europe still respected the authority 
of the Pope, and did not feel inclined to question his 
grants of sovereignty over distant countries. 




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CHARLES succeeded his father Philip as Count of 
Flanders in 1506. His father, Philip the Handsome, 
was at Burgos in Castile, where he was attacked by 
fever, and died when only twenty-eight years of age. 
Ten years afterwards Charles became King of Spain 
(15 16). When he was nineteen years of age (1519) 
he was elected emperor. The three nations over 
whom he was destined to rule hated each other 
cordially. There was antipathy from the beginning 
between Flemings and Spaniards. The Netherlands 
nobles were detested in Spain, the Spaniards in the 
Low Countries were equally abhorred. Again the 
Spaniards entreated Charles not to accept his election 
to the German throne. Charles had employed his 
Flemish nobles in Spain, and they had disgusted the 
Spaniards by their ambition and rapacity. The 
Spaniards feared that they would become a mere 
outlying province of the German Empire, and be 
plundered by German adventurers. 

Charles was born in Flanders, and during his whole 


career was much more a Fleming than a Spaniard. 
This did not, however, prevent him from considering 
his Flemish subjects as mainly destined to supply his 
wants, and submit to his exactions. He was always 
hard pressed for money. The Germans were poor 
and turbulent. The conquest and subjection of the 
Moorish population in Spain had seriously injured 
the industrial wealth of that country. But the Flem- 
ings were increasing in riches, particularly the inhabi- 
tants of Ghent. They had to supply the funds which 
Charles required in order to carry out the operations 
which his necessities or his policy rendered urgent. 
He had been taught, and he readily believed, that 
his subjects' money was his own. 

Now just as Charles had come to the empire, two 
circumstances had occurred which have had a lasting 
influence over the affairs of Western Europe. The 
first of these was the conquest of Egypt by the Turks 
under Selim I. (1512-20). The second was the revolt 
from the authority of the Papacy in Germany. 

Egypt had for nearly two centuries been the only 
route by which Eastern produce, so much valued by 
European nations, could reach the consumer. The 
road through Russia had been blocked by the con- 
quest of Russia by the Tartars. The roads through 
Central Asia had been similarly obstructed by the 
savages who had overrun and destroyed the ancient 
civilization of that region. There remained only the 
sea passage from India to the Red Sea, a short 
caravan journey from the western shore of that sea 
to the Nile, and the transit thence to the Mediter- 
ranean. But the trade, of which the Nile was the 


carrier, was not the only important fact in the trade 
of Egypt. There were flourishing manufactures in 
Alexandria and Cairo. In particular, sugar was 
cultivated, extracted, and refined in the former town, 
with such success and abundance that its price fell, 
at the beginning of the sixteenth century, to less than 
an eighth of what it stood at in the beginning of the 

Now this trade, trifling to be sure to our present 
experience, was of the highest importance to the 
trading towns of Italy, the Rhine, and the Nether- 
lands. It was the source of nearly all their wealth 
to Venice, Genoa, and Florence, to Nuremberg, 
Coblentz, Cologne, and Bruges, and a hundred other 
towns. The decay of the Italian cities immediately 
commenced, and that of the German towns followed. 
The presence of the Turk in Egypt immediately 
caused the ruin of all its manufactures and trade. 
The risk of their invasion was the principal stimulant 
of the voyages which were undertaken by Columbus 
and Vasco di Gama. 

The destruction of the Egyptian trade produced 
serious effects in Southern Germany. The German 
nobles, infinite in number, for titles descended to all 
the offspring of ennobled persons, had improved their 
incomes by entering into the guilds and sharing the 
profits of the burghers. When the profits fell off, 
because the trade dried up, they strove to compensate 
themselves by taxing their peasants. This led to the 
peasants' war, its frightful excesses, and its relentless 
suppression. The German peasant was thereafter as 
much oppressed as the French roturier was. 



So the Flemish towns which had engaged in the 
Eastern trade suffered. But the Netherlands had two 
industries which saved them from the losses which 
affected the Germans and Italians. They were still 
the weavers of the world. They still had the most 
successful fisheries. The policy which led Henry the 
Seventh of England to grant the commercial treaty, 
known as the Great Intercourse, to the Flemish towns 
was maintained by his successor. It was at first 

undertaken in order to 
rid England of the per- 
petual plots which were 
hatched in Flanders by 
the Yorkist exiles ; it 
was continued, because 
it redounded to the 
manifest benefit of both 
the nations. 

The other cause was 
the revolt against the 
papacy. In the fifteenth 
century the power of 
the papacy was greatly 
weakened, and the sove- 
reigns of Europe, who, a few generations before, had 
trembled at the Pope's threats, now undertook to set 
his house in order by means of general councils. But, 
as soon as they had established external decency and 
unity in the Church, they saw that the Pope might 
become the invaluable ally of despotism. They wished 
to strengthen their own authority over nobles and 
people, and they obtained in this effort the assistance 



of Rome. But they had no mind to dissent from the 
doctrine of the Church, or to allow their subjects to 
do so either. They formulated the doctrine that the 
subject should be of the religion of his ruler, and they 
acted on the theory for generations. This was the 
principal reason why the European sovereigns insisted 
on conformity, and visited those whom they were 
pleased to call heretics with severer punishments than 
they inflicted on traitors. 

It cannot be by accident that the most successfully 
industrious parts of Europe have been, with but one 
notable exception, hostile to the established religion. 
The heresies of Toulouse, the most prosperous part of 
Europe in the twelfth century, were the first occasion 
of the Inquisition, and were rooted out with fire and 
sword. In England the Norfolk weavers were the 
principal disciples of Wiklif, and more men and 
women perished in that county by the stake, than in 
all the others put together. Before the days of Luther 
and Calvin the Flemish spinners and weavers were con- 
stantly at war with the Church, and were constantly 
exposed to its wrath. The exception is Italy. But 
Italy, though it constantly quarrelled with the Pope, 
was notably enriched by his presence and by the 
contributions which the faithful poured into his 

When the Reformation was an accomplished fact, 
it took two forms — that of Luther in Germany ; that 
of Calvin in the Netherlands and France. These 
sects agreed in hostility to Rome, but differed in 
nearly everything else, till at last Lutheran and 
Calvinist came to be as bitter foes to each other as 


Rome was to both. The cause of this is not far to 

Luther threw off the yoke of Rome, but practically 
transferred the authority of the spiritual to the 
temporal prince. All that the Pope lost the Prince 
gained. The interests of rulers and the doctrine of 
the divine right of kings were served by the 
acceptance of Lutheranism. The subject's allegiance 
was not divided between Pope and King, but trans- 
ferred as a whole to the latter. When Henry the 
Eighth made himself supreme head of the Church, he 
carried out to a logical conclusion Luther's doctrine in 
State and Church. Hence, though there was no 
compromise between Rome and Luther possible, it 
was very possible for temporal sovereigns to accept 
Lutheranism, and to profit thereby. Lutheranism 
became the State religion of Northern Germany, 
of Scandinavia, and of Denmark. It powerfully 
affected England, though it was not accepted there in 
its entirety. 

But the teaching and discipline of Calvin was essen- 
tially democratic, even republican. The minister of 
religion was a preacher, but much more a tribune of 
the people. The Calvinist hated the Pope, but he 
was no friend to king or noble. Hence, from the very 
first, there was war between King and Calvinist. 
" No bishop no king," said James the First of Eng- 
land, himself bred under a Calvinist discipline. The 
French Calvinists, often noble, were suspected, and 
with reason, of designs against the monarchy. The 
burghers of the Netherlands and the peasants of 
Scotland were persecuted, not only because they 


disavowed the divine right of priests, but because 
they were believed to discredit the divine right of 
kings. The Calvinist enemy of the Church was held 
to be the Calvinist advocate of a democratic republic. 
This was proved in Holland, in England, and finally 
in the United States. Philip the Second saw, and 
avowed that he saw it, that the success of the 
Calvinist preachers would not only be the destruction 
of the Church which he clung to, but of his own 
power, which he still more passionately loved. With 
similar objects, his great-grandfather, Maximilian, 
wished to unite the Papacy and the Empire in the 
same person, that person being himself. 

If Erasmus of Rotterdam had possessed the courage 
of Luther, or the opinions and constructive genius 
of Calvin, the Reformation would have begun in 
Holland. But the learned man was too timid. He 
fled from the storm into Switzerland, and died there. 

Charles was not slow to persecute the Reformers in 
the Netherlands, though he had to temporise with 
them in Germany. But the former country was his 
patrimony ; in the latter he was only an elective 
sovereign, with rights limited by the powers of the 
independent princes of the empire, and he therefore 
could not do as he pleased. Under the rule of his 
sister, the Dowager of Hungary, Regent of the 
Netherlands, the persecution of the sectaries was 
organized in that country. There was no part of the 
world in which so many persons were put to death 
for their religion as in the Netherlands. 

When he was fifteen years of age, Charles limited 
the franchises of Ghent by the document known as 



the Calfskin. The Great Privilege of Mary of Bur- 
gundy had been already abrogated by Maximilian. 
Now Charles, being in straits in 1539, demanded a 
subsidy of 1,200,000 florins from the Netherlands, 
400,000 of which was to be subscribed by the citizens 
of Ghent. The burghers claimed that the grant could 
be made only by the unanimous consent of the 
Estates. The Emperor was carrying on war in France, 
in Sicily, and in Milan at once, and the Netherlanders 
were unwilling to contribute to a war in the conduct 
of which they had no interests whatever. Even the 
Spaniards resented the Emperor's appeals for money. 
But the men of Ghent broke out into insurrection. 
They offered themselves to Francis of France, who 
betrayed their correspondence to Charles. So Charles 
resolved on chastising them. They did not resist him 
on his approach. He entered the city, kept his inten- 
tions secret for a month, and then solemnly annulled 
all the charters, privileges, and laws of the city, and 
confiscated all the property of the guilds and corpora- 
tions. He exacted the subsidy which he demanded, 
added 150,000 more to it, and imposed a fine of 6,000 
florins a year on the city for ever. Of course, a 
number of persons were executed. Finally, he sat in 
judgment on the famous Bell Roland, the tolling of 
which summoned the burghers to their assemblies, and 
ordered it to be immediately taken down. Having 
destroyed the constitution, having fined all the citizens 
and executed many, he forgave Ghent, because he was 
born there. 


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CHARLES resigned all his crowns on October 25, 
1555, he being then between fifty-five and fifty-six 
years of age. The ceremony, carefully elaborated, 
took place in the great hall of the palace of Brussels, 
the capital of the Duchy of Brabant. Charles, 
Philip, and Mary, the Dowager Queen of Hungary, 
were present, the last-named having acted as Regent 
of the Netherlands and the instrument of Charles's 
government for twenty-six years. The Emperor came 
into the hall, leaning on the arm of the Prince of 
Orange, who is known to all time as the ever-famous 
William the Silent. 

It was a most brilliant assemblage. The Knights 
of the Golden Fleece, an order instituted by Philip 
the Good, were present, and among them, or with 
them, were those Flemish and Holland nobles who 
were destined to play so conspicuous a part in the 
coming struggle. Besides Orange, the father of 
Dutch freedom, and the principal personage in the 
long struggle which was soon to begin, were Horn 



and Egmont, Berghen, and Montigny, the Bishop of 
Arras (afterwards Cardinal Granvelle), Brederode, 
Noircarmes, and Viglius. Most of these men — 
indeed, most of those who were witnesses to the 
abdication — were to perish by one violent death or 
another in the course of a few years. 

Charles was a broken man. His vigorous consti- 
tution had yielded to the excesses of his life and 
the labours of his long career. He was such a victim 
to gout that he could hardly stand without assistance. 
The deformity of the lower jaw, which he inherited, 
and which reappeared in his descendants, and was 
said to have been originally transmitted to the Haps- 
burg family from a Polish princess, had almost 
deprived him of the power of eating and talking. 
Charles, unlike his father, was never handsome, and 
advancing years had increased the ugliness of his 

His career, after all, had been a failure. In his 
youth he had been the great captain of his age, and 
had proved his military genius in numerous battles. 
Up to middle age he might have been called Charles 
the Fortunate. He had been victorious in Italy and 
in France. He had almost crushed the Protestants. 
Then the tide turned. He was humiliated before 
Metz. He was beaten by Maurice of Saxony and 
obliged to fly, disguised, from Innspruck, the cradle 
of the house of Hapsburg. He had been obliged to 
concede the Peace of Passau, and with it the esta- 
blishment of the Lutheran creed in the North of 
Germany. The Pope had turned on him, and the son 
of Francis I. of France had foiled him. The Grand 


Turk, the Pope, and the Protestants were leagued 
against him. It was time that he should leave the 
work to younger and, as he hoped, stronger hands. 
He would, it is true, have gained the German crown 
for his son if he could, but this came to be the portion 
of Ferdinand, his younger brother, and the two houses 
of Hapsburg were severed, never to be united. 

Philip the Second, to which these territories and 
kingdoms were to be transferred, was a slight, lean 
man, twenty-eight years old, below the middle height, 
with weak legs and a narrow chest. He did not 
possess in the least his father's energy and vigour, his 
military and political powers. In face like his father, 
he had the same Austrian deformity in his lower jaw. 
His father could speak any language in Western 
Europe witri fluency ; Philip could not speak any 
other tongue than Spanish. Charles was constantly 
talking ; Philip was habitually silent. Charles could 
be boisterous in his mirth ; Philip was sullen and 
retiring, and was hardly known even to smile. 

The Prince of Orange was at this time twenty-two 
years old. The place from which the hero of Dutch 
independence took his title was situated in the South 
of France, near Avignon, and the family were origi- 
nally vassals of the Pope, who was for centuries the 
Lord of Avignon. But they had migrated to the 
Netherlands, and had filled high offices under the 
Burgundian princes. The Prince of Orange was a 
noble who not only held the highest rank in the 
Netherlands, but was the head of a most opulent 
house. He was at the time Commander-in-chief on 
the French frontier where he was matched against 



Admiral Coligny and other great generals. It is 
remarkable that the stadtholders of the house of 
Orange furnished the republic with a succession of 
seven eminent generals and statesmen in unbroken 
order for nearly two centuries, from William the First 
of Orange to William the Fourth. 

In the oration which Charles made before his 
Estates, he dwelt on the labours of his life and the 
difficulties which his waning health put on him. He 
could not grapple with the situation, but must leave it 
to younger and more vigorous hands. He entreated 
Philip, his successor, to maintain the Catholic religion 
in all its purity, as well as law and justice. In com- 
mending the Estates to their new lord, he implored 
them to show due obedience to their sovereign, dwelt 
on their obedience and affection in time past, asked 
their pardon if he had committed any offence or fallen 
into any error during the time of his rule, and assured 
them that their welfare should be the object of his 
prayers during the remainder of his life. It is said 
that the audience was melted to tears. 

The reign of Charles had been one long crime 
against his subjects. He had trampled on their 
liberties, wasted their resources by inordinate taxa- 
tion, and -had established the Spanish Inquisition 
among them. He had an annual revenue of five 
millions, two of which were extorted from the Nether- 
lands, and squandered on objects which were of no 
concern to them. But the cruelties which he practised 
in the name of religion were incredible in their atro- 
city and number. Great authorities allege that the 
Netherlanders who were burned, strangled, beheaded, 


and buried alive under his orders amounted to 
a hundred thousand. The Venetian ambassador 
reckoned that ten years before his abdication Charles 
had put to death for their religion no less than thirty 
thousand persons in Holland and Friesland alone. 

There is no reason to believe that Charles perse- 
cuted for any other reason than policy. He had no 
more morality than the rest of European sovereigns, 
for, with all his activity, his life was a long licentious 
debauch. His son Philip was, in the current sense of 
the word, religious, for his deference to the Pope was 
profound and incessant. But Charles had allowed his 
armies to sack Rome, to insult and imprison the 
pontiff. He had, it would seem, a malignant pleasure 
in thwarting and coercing Clement the Seventh. He 
needed the services of Lutheran soldiers in Germany, 
and he permitted his soldiers to attend the ministra- 
tions of their own preachers, even while they were 
under his orders, and before Maurice of Saxony com- 
pelled him to grant toleration. He was recognizing 
the Reformation in Germany, while he was burning 
thousands of the Reformers in the Netherlands. 

The fact is he was fighting with political liberty. 
He saw that resistance to the divine right of the 
priest implied resistance to the divine right of the 
despot. He was shrewd enough to discern that if he 
winked at religious nonconformity, he would soon be 
face to face with political nonconformity. Precisely 
the same fact was recognized by Elizabeth and the 
Stuarts, by the house of Valois in France, and the 
house of Bourbon. The massacre of St. Bartholomew 
the policy of Richelieu, and the dragonnades of Louis 


the Fourteenth, had the same object with the policy 
of Charles and Philip. The Dutch Republic was the 
first to be tolerant ; and when the English people 
controlled the power of their kings at the Revolution, 
they followed up the deed with the Act of Toleration. 
But, even in our own day, the stimulant of religious 
bigotry — mild, indeed, by what it has been in the past 
— is constantly employed in order to defeat political 
justice. Even in his Spanish retreat, when Charles 
was deprived of the power of gratifying any of his 
vices, except gluttony, he still clamoured that more 
victims should be sacrificed to what he called his 
religious, but what were really his political, instincts. 

In 1548, with the future of his inheritance within 
sight, Philip had sworn, without any reservation, to 
maintain all the privileges and liberties of the pro- 
vinces and cities. He promised more than his father 
did, and probably by his father's advice, for the 
emperor knew that in that age vows were binding 
only on the weak. On July 25, 1554, he married 
Mary Tudor, of England, who was fortunately child- 
less and not long-lived. England was freed of her in 
1558, and of him a year before, for he deserted his 
vvife when she was plainly unable to give England a 
Spanish king. 

Philip the Second resided for four years in the 
Netherlands, and then left it never to revisit it. In 
the interval occurred his quarrel with Paul the Fourth 
and his war with France, the victory of St. Quentin, 
and the peace of Cateau Cambresis. These events 
have little to do with the history of the Netherlands, 
beyond the fact that, during their occurrence, it was 


necessary to keep the Flemings and Hollanders in good 
humour. It is true that Philip early disregarded his 
father's advice. Charles had counselled him to govern 
the Netherlands by Netherlanders, for he knew well 
that the country had nobles enough who would betray 
its interests, and play into the king's hands. But Philip 
governed entirely by Spaniards, and so gave occasion 
to that bitter hatred of Spain which formed the bond 
of union between these disjointed commonwealths. 

Philip, however, re-enacted the edict of 1550, by 
which the Inquisition was established in the Nether- 
lands, though the towns were not ready to accept it, 
and the king was forced to temporise. He tried to 
get a permanent revenue, but had for the time to be 
content with a subsidy. But the peace which he made 
with France and the Pope, left him time to pursue his 
two designs on the Netherlands, the destruction of 
their liberties and the uprooting of heresy. Resolved 
to return to Spain, he made Margaret of Parma, 
natural daughter of Charles V., his regent. He ap- 
pointed her council. He prepared to leave the Nether- 
lands on August 7th. But as all seemed smooth, the 
Estates unanimously requested of the king that all 
foreign troops should be withdrawn from the Nether- 
lands. For a time Philip was furious, for he saw that 
an army of Spaniards was necessary in order that he 
might give effect to his favourite project. But he had 
to temporise, especially as part of his policy was the 
creation of a number of additional bishoprics in the 
Netherlands. Then he left the country at Flushing. 
As he was on the point of sailing there occurred the 
memorable scene between him and the Prince of 


Orange, whom he saw then for the last time. He re- 
proached him with being the author of the opposition. 
William replied that the action of the Estates was 
unsolicited and spontaneous. On this Philip seized 
him violently by the wrist and, shaking it, said in 
Spanish, " Not the Estates, but you, you, you ! " express- 
ing himself by the most insulting pronoun he could 
use in Spanish. Philip reached Spain after a stormy 
voyage, and immediately regaled himself with an auto 
da ft. Soon after, for Philip had wooed Elizabeth of 
England in vain, he married Isabella of France, a 
marriage destined to cause a long war with that king- 



The regent who administered the Netherlands for 
eight years was the eldest natural child of Charles. 
She had been married, first to Alexander de Medici, 
when she was twelve years old. He was assassinated 
after a year. At twenty she was married to the 
nephew of another Pope, Paul the Third. Ottavio 
Farnese was only thirteen years old. By him she be- 
came the mother of the celebrated Alexander Farnese, 
Prince of Parma. She was a woman of masculine and 
imperious temper, a mighty huntress, and celebrated 
in her time for two unfeminine characteristics — a well- 
defined moustache and the gout. 

Margaret of Parma's mother was a Flemish woman. 
She could, however, be entirely trusted in carrying out 
her brother's designs in establishing the Inquisition, in 
retaining the foreign garrisons, and in crushing the 
liberties of the Netherlands. Her counsellors were 
Berlaymont, who, though a Fleming, was the persistent 
enemy of his country ; Viglius, who composed the 
famous persecuting edict of 1 5 50 ; the Bishop of Arras, 


afterwards the celebrated Cardinal Granvelle, the able 
and unscrupulous enemy of every Flemish liberty ; 
Egmont, who had won the battles of St. Quentin and 
Gravelines, and thereby humiliated France ; and 
William the Silent, Prince of Orange. 

The family of Nassau had done the most important 
services to the house of Burgundy. It had supplied 
warriors and counsellors to Philip the Good, Charles 
the Bold, and Philip the Handsome. The influence 
of Henry of Nassau put the imperial crown on the 
head of Charles the Fifth. He died in war at the 
emperor's side, and his titles and estates passed to his 
nephew William. There was every reason why the 
descendants of Charles V. should make much of, and 
trust the house of Nassau. William, who was only 
eleven years old at the time when he succeeded to his 
cousin's inheritance, was the eldest of five sons, all of 
whom did noble work in the great war of indepen- 
dence. William was educated at Brussels under the 
eye of an old emperor, and from fifteen years of age 
was his constant attendant. At twenty-one he was 
appointed to command the army. He was now one 
of Margaret's council and Stadtholder, ie., the king's 
representative in Holland, Zeland, and Utrecht. 

William negotiated the treaty of Cateau Cambresis, 
and, with the Duke of Alva, was one of the hostages 
appointed to guarantee the due execution of the treaty. 
It was in France, and while he was hunting with 
Henry II. in the Forest of Vincennes, that the French 
king incautiously communicated to William the plan 
which he and Philip had concocted for massacring 
all the Protestants in France and the Netherlands. 


His motive was not religion, but a determination to 
extirpate all whose tenets, as he justly thought, would 
lead them to resist arbitrary power. To effect this the 
maintenance of the Spanish troops in the Netherlands 
was necessary. William received these communica- 
tions without any appearance of surprise, and there- 
after gained the name of William the Silent. But his 
mind was made up. He determined to do all that he 
could to get rid of the Spanish garrisons, to obstruct 
the establishment of the Inquisition, and to preserve 
the liberties of the Netherlands. It appears to me 
that Philip had divined his purposes at the epoch of 
that celebrated leave-taking. Had he given evidence 
of them, short work would have been made of him. 

William was still a Catholic. Indeed at that time 
it may be doubted whether there was a single Flemish 
noble who had embraced the reformed faith. The 
prospect of such a conversion was not as yet attractive 
in the Netherlands, as it was in Northern Germany 
where the Reformation had given the princes independ- 
ence and plunder. The dissidents from the old faith 
were artisans and priests whom the freedom of the new 
opinions had attracted. William was young, rich, and 
profuse. His wealth was great, his expenses greater. 
He kept open house at Brussels. But he did not, like 
one of his colleagues, speak of his poorer fellow country- 
men as " that vile and mischievous animal called the 
people." He was an enemy to the edict of 1550, and 
to the Spanish policy. 

There had been but four bishops in the Netherlands. 
Philip had induced the Pope to enlarge the number 
to eighteen, and to make three of them archbishops. 


The motive of this change was to strengthen the 
machinery for extirpating heresy. In order to assist 
them the four thousand Spanish troops were to be 
kept indefinitely in the Netherlands, of course at the 
expense of the Estates. Here then was plenty of 
material for discontent, for agitation, and finally for 
revolt. The cit'es again resolved to appeal to their 
charters. The charter of Brabant expressly disabled 
the ruler from increasing the power of the clergy. 

The unpopularity of these measures fell onGranvelle, 
as he was subsequently called. The old habit of 
loyalty was not yet worn out, and it was therefore 
expedient to transfer the odium from Philip to his 
minister. William led the opposition, and most of the 
nobles sided with him. At last Philip yielded, and 
withdrew the Spanish soldiers for a time in 1560. 
But the Inquisition kept to its work. On the other 
hand, the States were very reluctant to grant subsidies, 
and the king was at his wits' end for money. At this 
time (1561) William married the Princess Anna of 
Saxony, daughter of the celebrated Maurice. She was 
a Lutheran and the negotiations as to the exercise of 
her religion were protracted. Meanwhile the Inquisi- 
tion with Titelmann at its head continued its office, and 
in 1564/Granvelle was superseded. 

The Netherlanders were under the impression, and 
for a long time remained under it, that the severity of 
the government was not due to Philip, but to his 
ministers in the Netherlands. For this reason they 
hated Granvelle, with this view they sent deputations 
to Madrid — Egmont first, Montigny and Berghen 
afterwards. At last, in the beginning of 1566, some 


of the Flemish nobles drew up the Compromise, by 
which they pledged themselves to resist the Inquisition. 
Orange took no part in it, but he did more. Remem- 
bering his conversation with Henry of France, he 
resolved to know Philip's mind. He therefore estab- 
lished such a system of espionage over Philip, that 
he got copies of all Philip's most secret despatches. 
It is the lot of despots to be ill served. Worse than 
that, it is their lot to be betrayed. Placing no trust 
in any man, they gain the genuine confidence of none. 
Meanwhile thousands of Flemish weavers emigrated 
to England, especially to the Eastern Counties, trans- 
ferred their skill and industry thither, and soon became 
the successful rivals of the land of their birth. 

The new league determined to present a " Request " 
to Margaret, and Orange so far acted with the leaders 
as to counsel them as to the language of the document. 
On April 5, 1566, the request was read to the 
Duchess and her council by Brederode. The purport 
of this document was that it was necessary to the 
peace of the country that the edicts and the Inquisition 
should be withdrawn, and that the management of 
affairs should be remitted to the States-General. The 
petitioners left, and the council debated it Then it is 
that Berlaymont, always consistently hostile to his 
countrymen, exclaimed, " Is it possible that your 
Highness can be afraid of these beggars!" As the 
confederates passed his house afterwards, he is said to 
have repeated the insult. The confederates reiterated 
their requests on April 8th. 

In the evening of that day Brederode prepared a 
great banquet for three hundred guests at his mansion. 


The Flemings (did much in the way of eating and drink- 
ing, and when they were warm with wine, the guests 
debated what name they should give their association. 
The host rose and told them, to their indignation, what 
was the name which the councillor had given them. 
He then suggested that they should adopt the name, 
instantly seized a beggar's wallet and bowl, rilled the 
latter with wine, put the former on, and passed both 
to his next neighbour. The name was adopted with 
shouts of applause, and thenceforward the Netherland 
patriots went by the name. 

Orange, Egmont, and Horn entered the apartment 
when the revelry was at its height. They were con- 
strained to drink the new toast and instantly left. 
Their momentary presence at this orgie caused soon 
after the deaths of the last two, a fate which Orange 
would have shared had he come into his enemies' 
hands. In the morning a new costume, imitating in 
quality and appearance the beggars' clothing and ap- 
pendages, was adopted by them. The common folk 
of the Netherlands now believed that they had leaders, 
and crowded to listen to the preachers. 

Shortly after these events, in August, occurred the 
image breaking in the Netherlands churches. But no 
injury was done to anything else, not to any person. 
The only objects on which the mobs wreaked their 
wrath were the symbols of the ancient religion. The 
confederate nobles took no part in the outrage. For 
a time the violence seemed to be an advantage. On 
August 25th, the Duchess signed the Accord, under 
which the Inquisition was abolished, and a general 
toleration accorded. The nobles did their best to 



quiet the disturbances. But while Philip temporised, 
he had made up his mind. He collected an army in 
Spain, put it under the command of Alva, gave his 
commander instructions, and the war began. 



Philip had resolved to establish the Inquisition by 
the sword- He augmented his army in Italy, and had 
sent Alva and his troops thither. This man had been 
all his life engaged in war, was now sixty years old, and 
had the reputation, justly earned, of being the most 
accomplished and capable warrior in Europe. He 
had gained victories in Spain, in Africa, in Germany, 
in Italy, in France. He was, perhaps, the most blood- 
thirsty man who ever existed in what is called the 
civilized world, and he was sent to the Netherlands to 
satiate himself. The army was worthy of the general. 
He commanded the finest and the most merciless 
troops in Europe. 

Some of these troops, about 10,000 in number, em- 
barked at Carthagenaon May 16, 1567. The principal 
part of the force was collected at Genoa, and marched 
across Mont Cenis, and through Savoy, Burgundy,* and 
Lorraine. Had the confederates in the Netherlands 
determined at this time to resist Philip, and had 
Egmont taken the command, it is probable that 



Alva's troops might have been destroyed in detail, so 
difficult was the march. By the middle of August 
they were all in the Netherlands. Alva fixed his 
headquarters at Brussels, on August 23rd, but distri- 
buted his troops through the other cities. It was the 
intention of Philip and Alva to destroy every Nether- 
lander who had resisted or even criticized the Spanish 
policy. Of course, Orange, Egmont, Horn, and 
Hoogstraten, were to be forthwith arrested and dealt 
with. There was to be a political in addition to a 
religious inquisition. In the interval these eminent 
men were to be entrapped into a false security. The 
plot succeeded with Egmont and Horn ; it failed 
with Orange and Hoogstraten. 

On September 9th Horn and Egmont were arrested, 
and on September 23rd transferred to the castle of 
Ghent, with other leading persons. Alva had done 
part of his commission with secrecy and dispatch. 
But the escape of Orange was thought by those who 
knew the Netherlands to make the capture of the 
others politically valueless. However, on the very 
day on which Horn and Egmont was arrested, Alva 
established a council which he called that of Troubles, 
but the Netherlanders the Blood Council. It was an 
invention of Alva's own. It soon set to work and 
slew its thousands before Margaret of Parma retired, 
which she did on December 9th. She was probably 
softened by this time, for her best friends and advisers 
had been imprisoned by her successor,and were already 
doomed. Alva set to work to build the citadel of 
Antwerp. In October, 1568, he took up his quarters 
in the new fortress. 

76 ALVA. 

Orange was prosecuted, and his eldest son was 
kidnapped and sent to Spain. But William was 
himself out of reach. Meanwhile, a sentence of the 
Inquisition condemned all the inhabitants of the 
Netherlands, with a few exceptions, to death as 
heretics, and Philip confirmed the sentence. How 
powerful must the theory of the divine right of kings 
and the divine right of priests have been, that this 
decree was not met by an instant revolt. But all that 
came of it, as yet, was that bands of marauders, under 
the name of Wild Beggars, took to robbing all and 
sundry, but especially to mutilating monks and priests. 

Meanwhile, Orange had collected troops and taken 
to the field. He made his attack on three points and 
failed in two. But at the battle of Heiligerlee, in 
Friesland, the patriots were victorious, and the army 
of the Spaniards all but annihilated. But the victory 
was the death warrant of Egmont and Horn. They 
are executed on June 5, 1568. 

One of the brothers of Orange had perished in 
the battle of Heiligerlee, Louis of Nassau, another, 
was still in the field. But Alva was on his path, 
routed his army, laid waste the country, slaughtered 
the inhabitants, and brought back his soldiers with 
little loss. While Alva was defeating Louis, Philip 
was murdering his eldest son, Don Carlos. Had this 
young man gone, as he wished, to the Netherlands, in 
place of Alva, the tyranny of Caligula would have 
been exhibited in place of that of Nero. 

As Alva had beaten Louis of Nassau, so he now 
baffled William, who had now openly embraced the 
reformed faith, but carried into his new creed an 


utter hatred of religious bigotry. He would perse- 
cute neither Papist or Anabaptist. With perhaps 
equal sincerity, he declared that he did not make 
war on Philip, but on Alva. He got but little aid from 
the nobles, who promised him much ; he got as little 
help from the peasants from whom he could expect 
nothing. He collected a formidable army, but he 
could not force Alva to fight, and the army wasted 
away. Alva returned to Antwerp, and set up a 
colossal statue of himself on the citadel. 

Alva was now triumphant, and, to all appearance, 
the fortunes of Orange and the Netherlands were 
desperate. The Flemish nobles were without spirit 
or character, as was to be often proved, and the 
people were not yet organized. Just at this crisis, 
Elizabeth of England put Alva into a serious difficulty. 
She impounded certain treasure ships which were on 
the road for the payment of the Spanish troops. 
This was the beginning of those military bankruptcies 
which ultimately aided the patriots so much. The 
murders of Alva and the depopulation of the Nether- 
lands were drying up all sources of revenue, and Alva 
began seriously to think of an amnesty. In his 
efforts to obtain money, Alva had even ventured on 
plundering his own Church, and he did it with a high 

For two or three years Orange was an exile and a 
wanderer, while Alva was striving to reconcile the 
Flemings and Hollanders to taxes which would have 
absolutely ruined them. From time to time he was 
engaged in plots for the murder of Elizabeth, assassi- 
nation by hired bravos being now considered legitimate 

78 ALVA. 

warfare by Philip. The plots were found out, the 
assassins punished, and the English people — Catholic, 
Anglican, and Puritan alike — were becoming united 
against Spain, and in defence of Elizabeth. Even 
Philip's victories were barren, for though the battle of 
Lepanto had checked the progress of the Turks, it had 
not furthered the ascendency of Spain. 

Alva's unpopularity was daily increasing, the pro- 
vinces were nearly ruined, or saw they could arrest 
ruin only by energetic resistance, the governor's 
successor was appointed, and Orange was again 
steadily but secretly making way, when the first turn 
of the tide came in favour of the patriots. The 
Beggars of the Sea had captured the city of Brill. 

The Hollanders had long been familiar with the 
sea. They had been driven from their homes ; their 
native land was being given up to military execution ; 
they could not for years stand against Spanish disci- 
pline in the field, but they rapidly became invincible 
on the water. The narrow seas were now swarming 
with rovers, furnished with letters of marque by 
Orange, and, it is to be feared, that they levied their 
contributions impartially from Spaniard and neutral. 
Their admiral was William de la Marck, a descendant 
of wild freebooters, and himself as ferocious as any of 
his ancestors. He was a kinsman of Egmont, and was 
sworn to avenge himself on Alva. 

Twenty-four vessels, manned by the Beggars of the 
Sea, were cruising in the spring of 1572, on the 
southern coast of England. Elizabeth, who had 
made up her quarrel with Alva, forbade her subjects 
from provisioning the Beggars. Half-starved already, 


80 ALVA. 

the rovers determined to essay some place in Holland, 
and appeared before Brill. They determined to 
obtain its surrender, and sent a friendly fisherman of 
the town as their envoy. The Beggars were some 
four hundred in all, but the fishermen, when asked 
about their numbers, answered in a careless 
manner, about five thousand. There was no thought 
of resistance, and the patriots soon got possession, 
and held it in the name of Orange. Alva sent 
troops to recapture the town, but they were repulsed ; 
for the Sea Beggars were in their element. A short 
time afterwards, Flushing was rescued from Alva 
by the patriots, and the number of their partisans 
rapidly increasing, this town was garrisoned. Here 
they caught Pacheco, Alva's engineer, who had built 
the citadel of Antwerp, and had been sent to finish the 
defences of Flushing. They hanged him on the spot. 

Almost at an instant, nearly all the cities of 
Holland and Zeland threw off the Spanish yoke, 
and accepted the government of Orange, though in 
the name of the king. But for a long time the 
insurgents claimed nothing more than the charters 
and liberties to which Philip had voluntarily sworn. 
Toleration was from the first the law of William's 
government. Meanwhile Louis of Nassau had 
captured the city of Mons, in South-west Flanders. 
At Walcheren nearly the whole Lisbon fleet was 
captured by the Beggars, the pay of the Spanish 
soldiery, and much of their ammunition. 

On July 1 8, 1572, the Estates of Holland w r.? 
convened at Dort, under the authority of Orange as 
Stadtholder. The convention was primarily for the 

82 ALVA. 

purpose of raising funds for the prosecution of the 
war. Stirred to enthusiasm by the eloquence of 
Saint Aldegonde,the Hollanders unanimously resolved 
to dedicate themselves and their fortunes to the cause 
which was identified with Orange. The prince was 
himself seeking to effect a junction with the Huguenot 
troops, who were marching to the relief of Mons, but 
who were defeated before he could achieve his object. 
He continued his march, levying troops, collecting 
funds, and relying on the French, when on August 24th 
occurred the frightful massacre of St. Bartholomew. 
His plans were frustrated, his army was disbanded, and 
he was forced to retire into Holland. On September 
19th, Mons was surrendered, and the Flemish towns 
returned to their allegiance. Henceforth, the principal 
interest of the struggle centres in Holland. 

Even here, however, the affairs of the patriots were 
unprosperous. Tergoes was relieved, and Zutphen 
sacked by the Spaniards. William was deserted by 
his brother-in-law, De Berg, who betrayed what was 
entrusted to him. Harlem, after a desperate defence, 
was captured in the summer of 1573. But the siege 
of Alkmaar, after an heroic defence of seven weeks, 
was raised. Then there was a breathing time for 
the Hollanders. The French king intrigued for the 
marriage of his brother with Elizabeth, and the 
Spanish king intrigued with the electors of the 
German Empire for the succession to Maximilian. 
Besides the Dutch had defeated the Spanish com- 
mander by sea, at Enkhuizen, on October nth. On 
December 18th, Alva left the Netherlands. His 
Blood Council had put to death 18,600 persons. 

■gfig — 1 





^ jI^jl^ljlT'iW 



It was understood that the new governorrepresented 
a policy of concession of amnesty, even of peace. 
But he was hampered by two conditions. He was to 
secure the king's supremacy, and the total prohibition 
of any but the Roman Catholic religion. It was 
obvious that unless an unconditional surrender was 
made, there was no hope for peace, and, in fact, the 
war continued for thirty-six years longer. Yet every 
one desired peace, Catholic and Protestant, Spaniard, 
Fleming, and Hollander, the advisers and tools of 
Alva, and the friends and adherents of Orange. Even 
Philip would have been glad to stop the perpetual 
drain on his resources, and avert the bankruptcy 
vvhich was imminent. 

The army, now numbering sixty-two thousand, was 
nearly a twelve months 5 pay in arrears. The country 
had been impoverished and the States refused to grant 
a dollar. But, on the other side, though the Dutch 
were out-numbered and out-generalled, they main- 
tained their fleets and their forces, though they were 


sometimes short in granting supplies. Requesens, 
therefore imagined that the whole of the Netherlands 
would accept peace on any terms ; and if only the 
nobles had to be consulted, he was probably in the 

The Hollanders were now unquestionably superiors 
on the sea, as was to be conclusively proved. The 
patriots were besieging Middelburg, in the island of 
Walcheren, in which a Spanish general of great 
ability and courage was commander. The new 
governor found it necessary to relieve the garrison, 
which was nearly starved out. It could only be 
effected after a victorious sea fight. The battle was 
joined on January 29th, and the patriots were entirely 
victorious. Middelburg was soon surrendered. 

The siege of Leyden was the great event of the 
year. It was closely invested, and Orange bade his 
brother Louis relieve it. On March 14th he fought 
a battle with the besieging force ; his army was 
nearly annihilated, and he and his brother Henry 
slain. Their bodies, however, were never discovered. 
It seemed now that Leyden would be lost, not from 
the victorious army, which mutinied immediately 
after their victory, and marching on Antwerp, seized 
the city. Their pay was three years in arrear. 
But the danger was not passed, for the siege was 
reformed. Meanwhile the Dutch admiral had suc- 
ceeded in destroying another Spanish fleet. 

The second siege of Leyden began on May 26th. 
It lasted till October 3rd. The limits of this work 
disable the author from describing in detail this 
memorable siege, and the relief of the city by the 



Beggars of the Sea. To meet their foe, and to baffle 
him, the Hollanders cut the dykes between Leyden 
and the sea, and turned the leaguer of the Spaniards 
into a sea fight, in which the patriots were thoroughly 
in their element. At last the Spaniards retreated in 
panic, and the siege was raised. 

In remembrance of this great deliverance, the 
States of Holland resolved to found a university in 
the town of Leyden. They endowed it with the 
possessions of the abbey of Egmont, and provided it 
with teachers, selected from the ablest scholars in the 
Netherlands. For two centuries the University ol 
Leyden was the most famous in Europe. But Orange 
still kept up the form of loyalty, and the charter of 
the university declares that it was founded by Philip, 
Count of Holland. 

The two provinces, Holland and Zeland, though 
Harlem and Amsterdam were still in the power of 
the enemy, raised nearly as high a revenue monthly 
for the prosecution of the war, as Alva had been able 
to extract yearly from the rest of the Netherlands. 
The fact is, their trade grew with their efforts. They 
were still in theory subjects of Spain, and they traded 
with the Spanish possessions. They were even 
charged with manufacturing and selling the powder 
with which the Spaniards bombarded their cities. 
Even to the last they made war on the Spanish 
Government, and had commercial transactions with 
Spanish subjects ; for as Philip did not recognize their 
independence, they seem, except at their pleasure, to 
be at war with him only in their own country. 

In the autumn of 1574, the Constitution of Holland 


was organized. William was made commander-in- 
chief; a monthly grant for the expenses of the army 
was conceded to him, and practically the whole con- 
duct of affairs was conferred on him. Then came the 
farce of negotiating a peace. The terms of Philip were 
inadmissible. He refused toleration to the reformed 
religion, and the conferences were abruptly closed. 

In 1575, the states of Holland and Zeland were 
united. It was not done without some difficulty, for 
the municipal principle had ruinously kept cities 
apart, and made military action capricious and 
uncertain. It was this temper of isolation, constantly 
breaking out and thwarting the interests of the whole 
republic, which prolonged the war, narrowed the 
independence, and ultimately was a potent factor in 
bringing about the decline of the Dutch Republic. 

In the same year, however, the States suffered 
another reverse. The island of Schouwen was in- 
vaded by an army which marched through the sea to 
the mainland by one of those channels which separate 
the islands of the Dutch coast, and its capital, Zie- 
rikzee, was besieged. The situation induced the Hol- 
'landers, though with no little hesitation, to take an 
important step. 

This was no less than to formally discard the 
sovereignty of Philip, and to declare their indepen- 
dence as far as he was concerned. But William and 
the States were far from believing that they could still 
stand alone. The renunciation of Philip was neces- 
sary only because they wished or felt it necessary 
that they should adopt some other prince as their 
lord, provided, of course, that their new ruler would 


protect their religion and their liberties. Negotia- 
tion with divers powers were continued during nearly 
the whole of the War of Independence. 

There were three Powers to whom they might apply 
— the Emperor of Germany, the Queen of England, 
and the King of France. The first of these seemed 
most constitutional. It had undoubtedly been the 
case that in early times Holland had formed part of 
the German Empire, and the fact had not been for- 
gotten in the negotiations between Philip and the 
emperor. Had the proposition of William been 
accepted, the independence of Holland would practi- 
cally have been secured, for the States would have 
occupied the position which the German sovereigns 
did under what v/as no more than the nominal 
supremacy of the emperor. No doubt the religion of 
the Dutch, Calvinism, was an obstacle, for Protestant 
Germany was Lutheran, and fifty years later the 
irreconcilable enmity of the Calvinists and Lutherans 
was no small cause of the disasters which Germany 
suffered in the Thirty Years' War. 

Another difficulty was in the family relations of the 
emperor and Philip. The princes of Austria, Spain, 
and Portugal were closely connected by family ties, 
and marriages often taking place between certain 
members of these families, by the Pope's dispensa- 
tion, which would have been impossible in any other 
persons. In Spain and Portugal the marriage of 
uncle and niece was far from uncommon, and even 
more closely related persons were, as political exi- 
gencies seemed to dictate, contemplated for such 
unions. Besides the real assistance the Emperor of 


Germany could give was little. Any effectual help 
must come from the Protestant princes. 

Elizabeth of England was in a very peculiar posi- 
tion. Her foreign enemies held her to be illegitimate. 
Her rival, Mary Stewart, was indeed in prison, and was 
detested in Scotland. But she had her party, and 
carried on her intrigues. Again, Elizabeth was very 
poor. The manufactures and trade of England were 
not developed, and she did not yet suspect that 
her sailors would be a match for Spain. Nor did she 
like the idea of patronizing revolted subjects. It was 
a dangerous precedent, and might be used against 
her. She preferred, therefore, to intrigue, to lend a 
favourable ear to the States, perhaps to assist them 
secretly — at any rate, to assist them cautiously. Even 
when she broke with Philip and went to war with him, 
she greatly hesitated. Though she knew that the 
Netherlands were at this time the bulwark of England 
and the fortress of Protestantism, she was timid and 
slow. She would and she would not. In the end she 
.helped Holland more than any other state did. 

The author of the massacre of St. Bartholomew 
had now passed away, and the last prince of the house 
of Valois was on the throne. He was even a more 
contemptible person than his predecessor, and the 
Queen Dowager was the real ruler. But who could 
trust this treacherous Court, whose perfidy was even 
greater than that of Spain, and whose crimes had 
been more colossal ? Still Orange inclined to France 
as, indeed, his son Maurice, with better apparent 
reason, did. At any rate, it was well to play off the 
jealousy of England against the jealousy of France. 



It was at this time, as we are told, that Orange 
seriously meditated the scheme of transferring the 
Hollanders from the land of their birth to a new 
settlement, either in the Old or New World. It might 
be curious to speculate on what the course of history 
might have been if the whole population had migrated 
to the United States or the Tropics, to the island of 
Java or to the island of Manhattan, and that either 
or both these places had been the home of this race 
instead of being its colonies. But it was destined 
that Europe should be the theatre of the great 

It is not certain that Orange was seriously debating 
the alternative of emigration. It has been confi- 
dently alleged that he was ; it has been as confidently 
disputed. But on March 5th the Grand Commander 
died, after a few days' illness. There was a lull foi a 
time. Philip, as years passed on, became more pro- 
crastinating than ever, though he was none the less 
absolute and determined on the purposes which he 
had formed. 



While Philip was engaged in selecting his viceroy, 
trouble befel his government in the Netherlands. 
Immediately after the fall of Zierikzee the Spanish 
troops mutinied. They had been unpaid for years, 
and no money was forthcoming from Spain. The 
Netherlands had been nearly drained, and it is pro- 
bable that neither Philip nor his lieutenants desired 
to utterly impoverish the obedient provinces. The 
practice of these mutineers was to depose their own 
officers, or, at least, to disobey them, and to elect a 
temporary chief, to whom they gave, under the name 
of Eletto, full powers as long as they pleased to con- 
tinue them. It was a dangerous pre-eminence, for a 
deposed or distrusted Eletto was pretty sure to forfeit 
his life with his office. 

The mutineers demanded a city, and succeeded in 
capturing Alost. Thence they threatened Brussels. 
They could make no impression on it ; so, having ex- 
hausted Alost, they resolved on attacking Antwerp. 
The mutineers had been outlawed by the Government, 


but were in communication with the governor of the 
citadel of Antwerp. The Spaniards burst into the 
city, overpowered its defences, and the Spanish fury- 
took place on November 4th.' It surpassed in horror 
and atrocity anything which happened during the 
war. The soldiers paid themselves handsomely, for 
it is said that they divided among themselves five 
millions of crowns. 

The sack of Antwerp hastened the pacification of 
Ghent, which William had been negotiating. It pro- 
vided, though unfortunately it was short lived, for the 
union of all the provinces of the Netherlands, for 
complete amity among them, and for the restoration 
of all the old liberties. It was signed on November 
8, 1576, by the deputies of Holland and Zeland, on 
the one hand, and by those of thirteen other states or 
cities, on the other. The Spanish soldiery was to be 
expelled, and the Inquisition was to be abolished- 
At the same time, Zierikzee and the island of 
Schouwen were abandoned and recovered. Four 
days before the pacification of Ghent was signed, a 
cavalier, attended by a Moorish slave, rode into 
Luxembourg. The slave was in reality Don John of 
Austria, the new governor, who entered on his office 
in this strange disguise. 

Don John of Austria was an illegitimate son of 
Charles V. His mother is said to have been a 
washerwoman of Ratisbon, who lived, during Alva's 
administration and to his exceeding discomfort, at 
Ghent. She lived there till her son arrived as gover- 
nor, when she was persuaded or forced to retire into 
Spain. When an infant John was put under the care 


of a Spanish grandee and carefully educated. When 
he was fourteen years of age, the secret of his birth 
was made known to him by Philip. He was educated 
in the company of his two nephews, Don Carlos, the 
heir-apparent of Spain, and Alexander of Parma. It 
appears that Philip designed him for the Church, but 
Don John was nothing but a soldier, and, after a 
struggle, he had his way. 

The battle of Lepanto, in which John defeated the 
Turks, was fought in October, 1571, and the fame of 
the commander was on every one's tongue. But the 
victory was barren. The allies might have taken 
Constantinople, but they began to quarrel with each 
other. John strove to create for himself a kingdom 
in Tunis. But Philip interfered. Then Don John, 
with the goodwill of the Pope, determined to invade 
England, to dethrone Elizabeth, to liberate and marry 
the imprisoned Mary Stewart, and make himself king 
of England and Scotland. As he was gaining the 
Pope's assent, news came to him that he had been " 
appointed Governor-General of the Netherlands. It 
seemed as though his dream was almost accom- 
plished. There were ten thousand Spanish troops 
there, the bravest veterans in the world. He would 
soon, he imagined, quiet the discontents of the 
Flemings, and then win his kingdom. It was true 
that the news from the provinces was daily more 
unsatisfactory, as he was waiting for the last instruc- 
tions of the dilatory Philip. Freed at last, he hurried, 
as I have said, in disguise through France. 

Against this knight-errant, William was to exert 
all his energies and all his abilities. He implored the 












States not to treat with John, but to resist him, unless 
he immediately sent away the Spanish and other 
foreign troops. For a time the States-General were 
firm, for they insisted on the Ghent Pacification. Don 
John affected to listen to them, and agreed to send 
away his troops, only stipulating that they should go 
by sea. He intended to make a descent on England. 
The States began to suspect his determination in the 
manner of their removal. The Ghent treaty was 
followed by the Brussels Union, the main point of which 
was the expulsion of the Spaniards. Meanwhile Fries- 
land and Groningen had been gained by the Dutch. 
At last Don John, after much fencing, agreed to accept 
virtually the Pacification of Ghent. He held firmly 
however to his demand that the troops should leave 
the Netherlands by sea. In a short time this was 
conceded also by Don John, and on February 17, 
1577, the treaty between Philip and the Netherlands 
was signed at Brussels. By this treaty Don John and 
subsequently Philip agreed that all foreign troops 
should be withdrawn, never to return except in case 
of foreign war, that all prisoners should be released? 
except the eldest son of Orange, who had been kid- 
napped nearly twenty years before, though he should 
be set free as soon as his father came into the treaty. 
It promised to maintain all the privileges, charters, 
and free institutions of the Netherlands and confirmed 
the peace of Ghent. 

It now seemed that the Netherlands had gained all 
they asked for, and that everything for which they had 
contended had been conceded. The Blood Council of 
Alva had almost extirpated the Reformers, and an 


overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of the Low 
Countries with the exception of the Hollanders and 
Zelanders, belonged to the old Church, provided the 
Inquisition was done away with, and a religious peace 
was accorded. 

But Don John had to reckon with the Prince ot 
Orange. In him William had no confidence. He 
could not forget the past. He believed that the 
signatures and concessions of the governor and Philip 
were only expedients to gain time, and that they would 
be revoked or set aside as soon as it was convenient 
or possible to do so. Apart from his knowledge of 
the men with whom he had to deal, he had intercepted 
letters from the leading Spaniards in Don John's 
employment, in which, when the treaty was in course 
of signature, designs were disclosed of keeping posses- 
sion of all the strong places in the country, with the 
object of reducing the patriots in detail. He saw that 
the citadels which had been built were still to be in 
the hands of the King of Spain, and he well knew 
what this meant. 

Above all, William distrusted the Flemish nobles. 
He knew them to be greedy, fickle, treacherous, ready 
to betray their country for personal advantage, and to 
ally themselves blindly with their natural enemies. 
The Perpetual Edict, the name given to the new treaty, 
was not, he saw, the same as the Pacification of Ghent, 
though it purported to recognize that accord. The 
very fact that the Flemish nobles trusted the conces- 
sions of Philip, made him the more distrust it and 
them. And as events proved, Orange was in the right. 

Hence he refused to recognize the treaty in his own 


states of Holland and Zeland. As soon as it was 
published and sent to him, William after conference 
with these states, published a severe criticism on its 
provisions. He knew perfectly well that Philip and 
his deputy would do all in their power to win him 
over, even to a seeming consent' They on their part, 
as their discovered correspondence shows, knew 
that the success or failure of their machinations de- 
pended on their success in hoodwinking Orange. 
"The name of your Majesty," says Don John, "is as 
much abhorred and despised in the Netherlands, as that 
of the Prince of Orange is loved and feared." But the 
governor did not and could not conceive that there was 
one thing which William valued above all offers and 
all bribes, and that was the security and freedom of 
the country whose affairs he was administering. 

In all seeming however Don John was prepared to 
carry out his engagements. He got together with 
difficulty the funds for paying the arrears due to the 
troops, and sent them off by the end of April. He 
caressed the people and he bribed the nobles. He 
handed over the citadels to Flemish governors, and 
entered Brussels on May 1st. Everything pointed 
to success and mutual good will. But we have Don 
John's letters, in which he speaks most unreservedly 
and most unflatteringly of his new friends, and of his 
designs on the liberties of the Netherlands. And all 
the while that Philip was soothing and flattering his 
brother, he had determined on ruining him, and on 
murdering the man whom that brother loved and 
trusted. About this time, too, we find that Philip and 
his deputy were casting about for the means by which 









they might assassinate the Prince of Orange, " who 
had bewitched the whole people ! " Meanwhile they 
continued to negotiate with him. 

An attempt of Don John to get possession of the 
citadel of Antwerp for himself failed, and the patriots 
gained it. The merchants of Antwerp agreed to find 
the pay still owing to the soldiers, on condition of 
their quitting the city. But while they were discuss- 
ing the terms, a fleet of Zeland vessels came sailing 
up the Scheldt. Immediately a cry was raised, " The 
Beggars are coming," and the soldiers fled in dismay. 
Then the Antwerpers demolished the citadel, and 
turned the statue of Alva again into cannon. 

After these events, William of Orange put an end 
to negotiations with Don John. Prince William was 
in the ascendant. But the Catholic nobles conspired 
against him, and induced the Archduke Matthias, 
brother of the German Emperor Rodolph, to accept 
the place of governor of the Netherlands in lieu of 
Don John. He came, but Orange was made the 
Ruwaard of Brabant, with full military power. It was 
the highest office which could be bestowed on him. 
The " Union of Brussels " followed and was a confe- 
deration of all the Netherlands. But the battle of 
Gemblours was fought in February, 1578, and the 
patriots were defeated. Many small towns were cap- 
tured, and it seemed that in course of time the 
governor would recover at least a part of his lost 
authority. But in the month of September, Don 
John was seized with a burning fever, and died on 
October 1st. His heart was buried at Namur, but 
his body was carried to Spain. 



The new governor of the Netherlands, son of 
Ottavio Farnese, Prince of Parma, and of Margaret of 
Parma, sister of Philip of Spain, was a very different 
person from any of the regents who had hitherto con- 
trolled the Netherlands. He was, or soon proved 
himself to be, the greatest general of the age, and he 
was equally, according to the statesmanship of the 
age, the most accomplished and versatile statesman. 
He had no designs beyond those of Philip, and during 
his long career in the Netherlands, from October, 1578, 
to December, 1592, he served the King of Spain as 
faithfully and with as few scruples as Philip could 
have desired. The king survived the prince for 
nearly six years. But he survived nearly all those 
who took part in the prolonged struggle in the Nether- 
lands. Bad as his constitution was, his methodical 
life and his entire freedom from any passion whatever 
but selfishness allowed him to grow old. 

Parma was religious, but he had no morality what- 
ever. He was not bigoted like Alva, for he was 


politic, and knew that unwise severity might baffle a 
commander and ruin a campaign. But he had no 
scruple in deceiving, lying, assassinating, and even less 
scruple in saying or swearing that he had done none 
of these things. Men whose creed is that they have an 
indefeasible right to the lives and fortunes, and even 
to the consciences of their subjects, as they call them, 
are seldom scrupulous. Now such men, if they possess 
military genius in time of war, and diplomatic skill in 
times of peace are and always will be (for the type 
exists, though the manner is changed) the worst 
enemies of the human race. To complete the picture 
of Parma's character, it should be added that he was 
entirely disinterested. He impoverished himself, wore 
himself out, was lavish in bribing others, but was tem- 
perate, plain in his habits, unsparing of his own life, 
and entirely disinterested. He had an excellent 
judgment of men, and indeed he had experience of 
the two extremes, of the exceeding baseness of the 
Flemish nobles, and of the lofty and pure patriotism of 
the Dutch patriots. Nothing indeed was more un- 
fortunate for the Dutch, than the belief which they 
entertained, that the Flemings who had been dragooned 
into uniformity, could be possibly stirred to patriotism. 
Alva had done his work thoroughly. It is possible 
to extirpate a reformation. But the success of the 
process is the moral ruin of those who are the sub- 
jects of the experiment. 

Fortunately, for Parma, there was a suitor for the 
Netherland sovereignty, in the person of the very 
worst prince of the very worst royal family that ever 
existed in Europe, i.e., the Duke of Anjou, of the 


house of Valois. This person was favoured by 
Orange, probably because he had detected Philip's 
designs on France, and thought that national jealousy 
would induce the French Government, which was 
Catherine of Medici, to favour the Low Countries. 
Besides, Parma had a faction in every Flemish town, 
who were known as the Malcontents, who were the 
party of the greedy and unscrupulous nobles. And, 
besides Anjou, there was the party of another pre- 
tender, John Casimir, of Poland. He, however, soon 
left them. Parma quickly found in such dissensions 
plenty of men whom he could usefully bribe. He 
made his first purchases In the Walloon district, and 
secured them. The provinces here were Artois, 
Hainault, Lille, Douay, and Orchies. They were 
soon permanently reunited to Spain. 

On January 29, 1579, the Union of Utrecht, 
which was virtually the Constitution of the Dutch 
Republic, was agreed to. It was greater in extent on 
the Flemish side than the Dutch Republic finally 
remained, less on that of Friesland. Orange still had 
hopes of including most of the Netherland seaboard, 
and he still kept up the form of allegiance to Philip. 
The principal event of the year was the siege and 
capture of Maestricht. The Hollanders could not 
make up their mind to the sacrifice which was 
necessary in order to save it. Mechlin also was 
betrayed by its commander, De Bours, who reconciled 
himself to Romanism, and received the pay for his 
treason from Parma at the same time. In March, 
1580, a similar act of treason was committed by 
Count Renneberg, the governor of Friesland, who 


betrayed its chief city, Groningen. He had assured 
the burgomaster of the city the night before, that 
such guilt was far from his thoughts, and murdered 
the burgomaster next day. The honest men of 
this age were the burghers. With few exceptions, the 
nobles were corrupt, and when they were not corrupt, 
often disgraced the cause they served by violence and 
cruelty, by drunkenness and recklessness. 

In this year, Philip became also King of Portugal. 
He not only now had the whole of the Spanish 
peninsula under his sway, but he succeeded to that 
estate in the East Indies which Alexander the 
Sixth, of pious memory, had conferred on the Portu- 
guese king nearly a century before. The event was 
important, because the quarrel of the Low Countries 
with Spain led to the creation of the Dutch East 
India trade, and to the foundation of the Dutch 
Empire in the Moluccas. We shall see in the course 
of this narrative how the Dutch had their opportu- 
nities, and insisted on the rights which they had 

In the same year, June, 1580, was published the 
ban of Philip. This instrument, drawn up by 
Cardinal Granvelle, declared Orange to be traitor and 
miscreant, made him an outlaw, put a heavy price 
on his head (25,000 gold crowns), offered the assassin 
the pardon of any crime, however heinous, and nobility, 
whatever be his rank. Philip had tried to cajole him. 
He had tried, by enormous offers, to bribe him. He 
was now determined, if possible, to murder him ; and 
at last, after four years' anxious strivings, he succeeded. 
William answered the ban by a vigorous appeal to 


the civilized world. He had, indeed, but a limited, 
perhaps a powerless audience, for the doctrine of 
political assassination had been taught for some time 
by the Jesuits. They had conspired against Elizabeth, 
but the Queen was well informed. Walsingham had a 
quick scent for these vermin, baffled them while he 
lived, and had his successors or disciples in the craft. 
But William, while. he sent his "Apology" to all the 
potentates in Europe, was certain of the sympathy 
and affection of the Dutch States, then assembled at 

Renneberg, the traitor, laid siege to Steenwyk, the 
principal fortress of Drenthe, at the beginning of 
1 581. There were Malcontents in the place, and 
foremost among them was a butcher, who wanted to 
know what the population was to eat when the meat 
was gone. " We will eat you, villain," the commander 
answered, " first of all, so you may be sure you will 
not die of starvation." In February, John Norris, the 
English general, one of Elizabeth's chickens of Mars, 
relieved the town. Renneberg raised the siege, was 
defeated in July by the same Norris, and died, full of 
remorse, a few days afterwards. 

But the most important event in 1 581 was the 
declaration of Dutch Independence, formally issued 
at the Hague on the 26th of July. By this instrument, 
Orange, though most unwillingly, felt himself obliged 
to accept the sovereignty over Holland and Zeland, 
and whatever else of the seven provinces was in the 
hands of the patriots. The Netherlands were now 
divided into three portions. The Walloon Provinces 
in the south were reconciled to Philip and Parma. 




The middle provinces were under the almost nominal 
sovereignty of Anjou, the northern were under William. 
The Prince of Orange really desired that the sove- 
reignty of Holland should also be conferred on Anjou, 
but the Estates would not have him, and would have 
none but William, Father William as they affection- 
ately called him. 

Philip's name was now discarded from public docu- 
ments, his authority was formally, as it long had been 
effectively, disowned ; his seal was broken, and William 
was thereafter to conduct the government in his own 
name. The instrument was styled an "Act of Abjura- 
tion." At this time, it seems surprising that so much 
delay was made in performing an act, which had 
virtually been in operation for almost a generation. 
But just as the value of history consists in extracting 
wisdom for the future from the experience of the 
past, because the record of social life to have value 
must be continuous, and because even the remote 
past has its bearing on the present, so it is quite 
necessary, if we are to have any reality in our inter- 
pretation of the past, to project ourselves into it, and 
strive with all our powers, original or borrowed, to 
realize what the past was. An English historian, 
when he was asked when modern history began, in- 
stantly answered with, " The call of Abraham," and, 
indeed, the historical student cannot neglect without 
serious injury to his study of what is after all the 
scanty fragments of human action which survive, 
anything whose influence is still enduring. 

The fact is, the action of the Dutch Republic was 
the first appeal which the world has read on the duties 


of rulers to their people. Men have revolted a 
thousand times against tyranny and misgovernment, 
sometimes successfully, more frequently to be crushed 
into more hopeless servitude. The Dutch were the 
first to justify their action by an appeal to the first 
principles of justice. They were the first to assert 
that human institutions, and human allegiance to 
governments are to be interpreted and maintained by 
their manifest utility. They were the first to assert 
and prove that men and women are not the private 
estate of princes, to be disposed of in their industry, 
their property, their consciences, by the discretion of 
those who were fortunate enough to be able to live by 
the labours of others. They were the first to affirm 
that there is, and must be, a contract between the 
ruler and the people, even though that contract has 
not been reduced to writing, or debated on, or fought 
for ; and strangely enough, the idea which lay under 
this doctrine was derived from that which had now 
become the principal instrument of oppression and 
wrong doing. The feudal system from which the 
Dutch broke away, was the origin of the tenet that 
the duties of the ruler and the subject are reciprocal. 
But this doctrine had been buried and forgotten. 
In modern times constitutional antiquaries have 
exhumed it and wrangled over it. The other doctrine, 
sedulously taught by venal lawyers and ambitious 
priests, that every right which man has is held at the 
discretion of the prince, and that every opinion he 
entertains is to be guided, controlled, or abandoned at 
the bidding of the priest, had smothered the more 
ancient theory of reciprocal obligation. The two 


rulers, king and priest, had entered into a compact. 
The latter was to teach the doctrine of passive 
obedience, the former was to support the creed which 
the latter thought proper to promulgate, with the 
secular arm. During the whole of the seventeenth 
century, the English clergy were teaching the doctrine 
of passive obedience from the ten thousand pulpits. 
A century after the declaration of Dutch Inde- 
pendence, Hobbes, who believed nothing, laid down 
the doctrine that a subject ought to take that creed 
which the discretion of the king supplied him with. 

It is impossible to over-estimate the timeliness, the 
significance, the value of the Act of Abjuration. 
The sturdy Hollanders, at a time when public liberty 
seemed entirely lost, and despotism had become a 
religious creed, began the political reformation. The 
teachers of Europe in everything, they are the first to 
argue that governments exist for nations, not nations 
for governments. And as precedents, especially suc- 
cessful ones, govern the world, the Dutch gave the 
cue for the English Parliamentary war, and the 
English Revolution, to the American Declaration of 
Independence, to the better side of the French Revo- 
lution, and to the public spirit which has slowly and 
imperfectly recovered liberty from despotism. 



It was no doubt unfortunate for the Dutch Republic, 
that Orange declined so persistently the sovereignty 
which the United Provinces pressed on him. Had he 
taken what they offered, the Dutch Republic would, 
in all likelihood, have comprised the whole of the 
Netherlands, except the Walloon Provinces, and would 
have held the whole seaboard from the mouth of the 
Ems to Dunkirk. William might have controlled the 
violence of the Ghent democracy, the intrigues of the 
Flemish nobles, and the religious reaction which 
finally made Belgium so intensely Roman Catholic 
He might even have baffled the ready genius of 
Parma, and have extended the military reputation of 
his country by land as well as by sea. There is no 
doubt that the refusal of Orange was partly due to a 
desire of avoiding even the appearance of self-seeking, 
but it was also due to a belief that the defeat of 
Philip's tyranny could only be finally effected by the 
assistance of foreign Powers, France or England, or 
both. He did not suspect, perhaps no one suspected, 

^* mm 







what were the inherent resources of the young re- 
public. In the meanwhile, and till the negotiations 
with Anjou could be completed, the influence of 
William was great in the United Provinces. 

William believed that the wretched king of France 
would fulfil the promises which he abundantly made 
of helping his brother in case the United Provinces 
elected him as their prince. It was known that 
Catherine of Medici, the old Queen-mother, was 
eager that her youngest son should receive the 
sovereignty of the Netherlands, and it was quite 
understood that the policy of the Queen-mother was 
the policy of France. But the courtiers, the mignons, 
as they were called, of the king had been made 
familiar with Spanish gold, for Philip, who starved 
his armies, was lavish in bribes to partisans. Per- 
haps no king spent so much in bribery with such 
poor results in the end. 

This was the time in which Anjou was engaged in 
that strange courtship of Elizabeth which caused so 
much amusement and excited so much anger and 
alarm. While the United Provinces were discussing 
the terms of his sovereignty, he was in England. 
While he was absent, Parma besieged and reduced 
Tournay, the Prince of Orange being most inade- 
quately supported by those whose liberties he was 
doing his best to protect. The fact is, the disunion of 
the Provinces led to their being attacked and reduced 
in detail. Anjou returned to Flushing on February 
io, 1582, and was inaugurated at Antwerp. He 
was accompanied by a train of distinguished English- 
men — Leicester, Sir Philip Sidney, with many others 


— who were to assist hereafter in the foundation and 
strengthening of the Dutch Republic. 

And now the first effects of the ban, the outlawry 
of William, were to be exhibited. On Sunday, 
March 18, 1582, Orange was entertaining some of 
his kindred at dinner, as it was the birthday of the 
Duke of Anjou. As he was leaving the room, a 
young man advanced from among the servants and 
offered him a petition. He took it, and the man 
suddenly drew a pistol and discharged it close to the 
Prince's head. The bullet passed under his right ear, 
through his mouth, and the other jaw. He believed, 
as did those about him, that he was mortally 

The assassin was instantly slain. William was led 
into his chamber, and the wound examined by the 
surgeons. It seemed dangerous, but the flame from 
the pistol had been so close that it had actually cau- 
terised the wound. He was instructed to be silent, 
and, though he complied, he wrote incessantly. 

Meanwhile, a horrible suspicion came over the 
minds of the Flemings. It was believed that the 
Prince was dead, and had been murdered at the insti- 
gation of Anjou. People remembered the massacre 
of St. Bartholomew, hardly ten years ago, and the 
treacherous murder of the bravest and noblest 
Frenchmen under the guise of friendship and cordi- 
ality. But the suspicion was soon allayed. Maurice, 
the Prince's son, destined hereafter to rival Parma as 
a general, remained by the body of the murderer. A 
search was made, and every article found on the 
assassin's person was carefully secured. On exami- 


nation, it was found that all the papers were in 
Spanish, and that, therefore, there was no evidence of 
a French conspiracy. The fact was soon communi- 
cated, and the relief was great. There had been so 
much treachery astir that any one might be sus- 

The murderer's pocket contained a dagger. The dis- 
charge of the pistol had blown off his thumb, or he 
probably would have used it. There was a quantity of 
trumpery charms besides, some religious manuals, a 
pocket-book containing two Spanish bills of exchange 
— one for 2,000 and the other for 8yj crowns — and 
a set of writing tablets covered with prayers and vows. 
The writer invoked the Virgin Mary, the Angel Gabriel, 
the Saviour, and the Saviour's Son, praying them to 
aid him in the accomplishment of the deed. Fie pro- 
mised to bribe them all with presents at their shrines 
if he got off safely. It seems, also, that his instiga- 
tors had persuaded him that after the deed was done 
he would become invisible. 

It was soon found out that the man was Juan 
Jaureguy, a Spanish servant in the employ of 
Anastro, a Spanish merchant in Antwerp. Anastro 
had flown — gone to Calais, it was said ; but his 
cashier, Venero, and a friar, Antony Zimmermann, 
were arrested. Anastro was on the verge of bank- 
ruptcy, and had entered into an engagement with 
Philip to murder Orange, and to receive 80,000 ducats 
and the Cross of Santiago for the crime. But he was 
too prudent to undertake the deed in person. He 
therefore hired Jaureguy with the sum alluded to. 
He had then fled to Dunkirk, obtained a passport on 



the plea of having important letters from the States 
admiral, and, before the news came, had got safely 
into Parma's lines. The bargain made with Philip 
was signed with the king's hand and sealed with his 
seal. Venero and Zimmermann confessed their 
crime, were tried, and executed — by the Prince's 
request in the least painful manner— ten days after 
the event. 

But the Prince gradually recovered. On the 5th of 
April, however, there was an alarming hemorrhage 
from the wound, and it seemed that all hope was lost. 
But Anjou's physician arrested the flow of blood by 
simple pressure, a number of attendants, one after the 
other, keeping their thumbs on the wound day and 
night. The wound was closed, and on May 2nd 
Orange went to offer his thanksgiving in the great 
Cathedral of Antwerp. Unhappily for him, the 
terror and anxiety were too much for his wife, Char- 
lotte of Bourbon, who died on May 5th, three days 
after the thanksgiving. She had been forced into a 
convent against her will, had escaped, and, disowned 
by her relatives, had married Orange. 

Parma, getting news of the attempt from Anastro, 
and being assured that the Prince was killed, ad- 
dressed circular letters to the revolted cities, calling 
on them, now that the tyrant was dead, to return to 
their allegiance, to the forgiving Philip, and to the 
holy Inquisition. It is doubtful whether they would 
have done so without a struggle even if the deed had 
been successful. As it was, Parma's invitation only 
made them more resolute. Holland and Zeland now 
urged that Orange should accept the sovereignty over 


these provinces without limitation of time. He agreed 
to do so, but the formal inauguration did not take 
place. William was in his grave before all the preli- 
minaries were settled. 

As the United Provinces had accepted Anjou for 
their duke in place of Philip/ Parma persuaded the 
Walloon Provinces that the condition under which the 
foreign soldiers had been sent away was now removed, 
and began to move up masses of Spanish and Italian 
troops. He was not indeed inactive, for he captured 
two or three important towns, but he waited till he 
found himself, at the close of the year, at the head of 
60,000 picked and trained soldiers. In July, another 
attempt, also at the instigation of Parma, was made 
to assassinate both Anjou and Orange by poison. 
The culprits were detected and duly punished. The 
younger son of the great Egmont was gravely sus- 
pected of being an accomplice. Less than two years 
before, Orange had befriended him and supplied him 
with money. 

The good understanding between Anjou and 
Orange remained till after January 15th, when the 
duke, in contravention of his oaths, attempted to 
overset the Constitution and seize the Flemish towns. 
The plot was kept a secret, but the French com- 
manders got hold simultaneously of Dunkirk, Ostend, 
and other important places. But they were discom- 
fited at Bruges. The attempt was made at Antwerp 
on the 17th, but the burghers rose, defeated the 
French troops, and slew 1,500 of them. Anjou 
escaped. The attempt was known henceforth as the 
French Fury. StilL Orange was so haunted with the 


idea that it was needful to propitiate the French, that 
he did not at once break with Anjou, and, to be sure, 
the effrontery of the French prince was equal to any 
emergency. What really determined him was the 
discovery that Anjou was willing to sell his position to 
Parma, and to restore ^Philip's reign over the United 
Provinces. Then he told them that there were only 
three courses open to them — to surrender to Philip 
and lose everything ; to invite Anjou to return to his 
government ; and to fight the thing out with all their 
means and with all their lives. He preferred the last 
course, but, unfortunately, he had learned too well 
that, except in Holland and Zeland, a Netherlands 
union was only a rope of sand. 

In June, 1583, the Duke of Anjou went away, 
never to return. John Casimir went away also. 
Matthias, grand duke and pretender, had already 
gone. There was no one left to make head against 
Spain but Orange. He married, for the fourth time, 
Louisa de Coligny. The son of this marriage was 
Frederic Henry, the successor of Maurice in the 
Dutch sovereignty, and one of the most distinguished 
among the succession, unparalleled among nations of 
illustrious chief citizens of Holland. They were 
William the Silent, Maurice, Frederic Henry, Wil- 
liam the Second, the Third (the English king), and 
the Fourth. Again the states of the United Provinces 
offered William the sovereignty, and again he refused 
it. So he refused the Duchy of Brabant. Mean- 
while, Parma was picking up the towns which Anjou 
had treacherously seized and treasonably deserted. 
Orange, too, had to endure the treason of his brother- 















in-law, Van der Berg. Still, up to the end, he 
believed it possible to make use of Anjou, who, 
however, died on June 10, 1584. 

Since the outlawry of Orange had been pro- 
claimed, five attempts had been made on his life, with 
the connivance of Philip, or Parma, or both. A 
sixth was successful. William was residing at Delft, 
a little town near Rotterdam, in the summer. His 
youngest child had been just baptized, and had taken 
the names of his godfathers, Frederic of Denmark 
and Henry of Navarre. Here William heard of the 
death of Anjou. 

Despatches bearing on the particulars of Anjou's 
death had been received by William on July 8th. 
He demanded an interview with the courier, and a 
young man, about 27 years old, was introduced. He 
was said to be the son of a murdered Calvinist, and 
to be ardently attached to his father's creed. In 
reality, he was a fanatical Catholic, who had medi- 
tated the murder of Orange for seven years or more, 
had consulted several Jesuits on the best means of 
effecting his purpose, had forged seals in order to pro- 
cure credit with his victim, and had been in close 
communication with Parma. Parma had no high 
opinion of him, but gave him the usual promise of 
reward in case he succeeded. His parents were 
enriched and ennobled by Philip after the deed was 
done, and the pension they received was secured upon 
the estate of William the Silent's eldest son. 

The man's real name was Balthasar Gerard. He 
called himself Francis Guion. It appears that he was 
conscientious in his conviction that Orange was to be 


murdered, and that any one who murdered him was 
serving God and man. The only thing which touched 
his conscience was the fact that he had forged seals 
in order to get access to his victim. He was, however, 
careful to bargain for his reward to himself if he 
escaped, to his heirs if he fell in the attempt. So 
suspicious had Parma been of his powers that he left 
him almost penniless, and Gerard was indebted to 
William's kindness for the very money which pur- 
chased the pistols with which he murdered his bene- 

At two o'clock on Tuesday, July 12, 1584, Gerard 
shot William the Silent. In a few minutes all was 
over. The murderer in the confusion nearly escaped, 
and had he not stumbled, when close to the moat, on 
the other side of which a horse was waiting for him, 
he might have got away. He was caught, brought 
back, confessed his crime, and gloried in it. Only he 
concealed Parma's share in the conspiracy. That 
great captain, however, who had dealt in such matters 
so often, was rightly understood to be the principal 
agent in the crime. Gerard was tortured horribly, 
but bore his sufferings with fortitude and serenity. 
Had William lived a few days, he would have been 
simply executed. After two days' torment he was 
put to death on July 14th. 



WHEN the wisest man in Holland had been mur- 
dered, and the greatest general of the age was in the 
prime of his activity and skill, Philip ought to have had 
no difficulty in overcoming the resistance of the Nether- 
lands. And when we add to this that the cities were so 
jealous of each other, that they could not be brought 
to act together, that they were constantly at strife even 
in their own walls, were hesitating when they should 
have been bold, penurious when they should have been 
liberal, and were being bought and sold by the prince 
whom they had invited to rule over them, and the 
nobles whom they knew to have committed a thousand 
treasons against public liberty, it should have been 
easy to stamp out opposition. Holland and Zeland, 
it is true, were uncontaminated. They had refused to 
recognize Anjou, even when William pressed them to 
do so, and though they were as yet unconscious of 
their powers, and could not foresee the great future 
which was before them, though they were foolishly 
timid and parsimonious at times when courage and 


self-sacrifice would have been the highest wisdom, 
still they had been made a nation by Father William. 

Philip always cherished the widest schemes of 
conquest or aggrandisement. He wished to achieve 
the empire of the world. It is true he was no warrior, 
indeed, he was little better than a clerk. He was no 
financier, for his revenue was anticipated and mort- 
gaged, and he was living from hand to mouth. He 
never imagined that any difficulties were in his way, 
for no one about him during his reign of forty-one 
years hinted that there was anything which he could 
not accomplish. It must be allowed that he bore his 
own losses, which were in fact the losses of others, 
with amazing serenity. He planned the affairs of the 
world, the conquest of kingdoms, the assassination of 
princes, the extirpation of heretics, the election of 
popes, and a thousand other things, at his writing- 
desk in the vast palace which he had built among 
the Spanish mountains in memory of the great victory 
of St. Quentin, the winner of which had, by Philip's 
orders, been executed at Brussels. His hand, or 
rather his pen, was in everything. Let us look for a 
short time at the principal projects which engaged 
him, the completion of which was a bar to the rapid 
conquest of the Netherlands. 

The last king of the house of Valois was on the 
'French throne. His only brother had just died, and 
he had no hope of issue. The heir to his house 
according to French law, now undisputed for at least 
two centuries and a half, that females could not 
inherit the throne or transmit a title to it, was Henry, 
King of Navarre, and prince of Beam. Philip treated 


the Salic law, as the French law regulating the suc- 
cession to the crown was called, as an absurdity, and 
claimed it for his daughter, and whatever husband he 
might assign to her. In order to achieve this result 
he had distributed bribes lavishly among such leading 
Frenchmen as professed to favour his pretensions. 
Among these was the Duke of Guise, who took 
enormous sums from him, and, under pretence of 
furthering Philip's schemes, was doing his utmost, by 
means of Philip's money, to secure the crown for 
himself. Over and over again, during the long course 
of this eventful war, Parma and his army were forced 
to abandon or suspend some necessary operation in 
order to further his master's and uncle's designs in 

Philip laid claim also to the throne of England, 
and for a long time had designed to subdue it. 
Elizabeth, it is true, was reigning in it, and it was a 
cardinal article in Philip's political creed, that subjects 
should be of the religion of their ruler. But then 
Elizabeth was a heretic, excommunicated by the 
Pope, and deposed by the same infallible authority. 
Philip admitted that the claims of Mary Stewart, who 
had been in an English prison for seventeen years, were 
superior to his own, and he therefore intrigued to 
liberate her, as he hired assassins to murder her rival 
and gaoler. Her son, who had been King of Scotland 
from infancy, was a heretic, and therefore out of the 
question. He would, therefore, be the guardian of 
Mary Stewart's interests, and having liberated her, set 
her on the throne. After Mary's execution he averred 
himself even more to be the heir to the English throne. 


He had some little plea for it, for he was descended 
from John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and titular 
King of Spain. It was by the fact that he represented 
both the daughters of John of Gaunt, that he had 
become King of Portugal. After Mary's death 
Philip's efforts for the subjugation of England were 

He had been exceedingly anxious to procure his 
own election as Emperor of Germany. This elective 
dignity had become, and remained to the wars of 
Napoleon, hereditary in the house of Hapsburg, and 
Philip was unquestionally the representative of that 
house. But after the resignation of Charles the Fifth, 
the empire of Germany went to that magnificent 
monarch's younger brother, much to Philip's disgust 
and wrath. He had, however, never lost sight of 
what he thought his right, and put forward his pre- 
tensions whenever he could. But beside these 
schemes of temporal aggrandisement, he had to 
manage the Papacy, to secure the election of such 
popes as were favourable to his views. So he had to 
fill the Sacred College as far as possible with his own 
creatures, and secure a good understanding with them 
all. For this end money was wanted. An empty 
purse was no argument at Rome, and it was necessary 
for him to be lavish. So what with bribing statesmen, 
hiring assassins, conciliating cardinals, and keeping 
armies and navies on foot and on sea, this king of 
universal ambition was sorely put to for money. 
While the Dutch were inventing new taxes by the 
score and getting opulent in spite of their sacrifices 
Philip did not know where to turn, even for the means 

• I 


to carry on his government. At last he took the 
desperate step of repudiating his debts, and so of 
getting into worse straits than ever. 

We know a little of his financial position, and how 
hopeless was the prospect of improving it. Spain, 
though populous and fertile, was less fruitful for 
revenue purposes than any European country. In 
Spain, labour was dishonourable, manufactures and 
trade were looked down on with contempt, and in- 
dolence was thought a mark of gentility. Spanish 
bigotry and Spanish pride had expelled the most 
industrious and wealth-producing part of the nation. 
It may be doubted whether the Italian possessions of 
Philip paid the cost of their civil and military estab- 
lishments. The Netherlands, which supplied three- 
fifths, at one time, of the revenues which his ancestors 
enjoyed and squandered, were now beggared or 
hostile. The Flemish artisans had been murdered 
or exiled, had quitted Flanders in thousands for 
England and Holland. These wealth- winning people 
were gone and their places were ill supplied, at least 
from a revenue-raising point of view, by Jesuits, 
monks, inquisitors, and bishops. 

It. is difficult to discover what he got from his 
possessions in the New and Old World. He had 
inherited at least all the dominions which Alexander 
the Sixth, Spaniard, Pope, and profligate, had be- 
stowed on his ancestors. In his eyes the Atlantic and 
Pacific were Spanish lakes, as much his property, his 
exclusive property, as the fishponds in the Escurial 
were. Indians of the Old World, Indians of the 
New World, from the Northern land of frost to the 


Southern land of fire, were as much his subjects as the 
Spaniards and the Flemings were. In accordance 
with the gift of Alexander, the whole world outside 
Europe was under the indefeasible sovereignty of 
Spain. Now in Philip's reign the mine of Potosi was 
discovered, and the king had a royalty on all mines 
in his dominions. But it may be safely alleged that 
much metal was raised on which the royal dues were 
not paid. Still it is clear that vast quantities of 
metallic wealth were annually poured into Spain. 
The misfortune to Philip's government was that so 
little of these great riches abode with him. His 
expenditure was a vast sieve, through which his 
revenue instantly drained away. Besides, the popula- 
tion of Philip's American dominions was speedily 
extirpated by the compulsory labour which the 
Spanish conquest put on them. There is not a single 
descendant left of the races which Columbus found 
in the Caribbees. The native populations of Mexico 
and Peru were attenuated to a shadow of what they 
were when Cortes and Pizarro made their conquests. 
To fill up the void which this vigorous and exhausting 
process had made, and to save the residue of the 
population, the benevolent bishop, Las Casas, had 
suggested the importation of negro slaves, and his 
advice had been followed. 

We shall never know all, or much more than a little, 
of what Philip disbursed annually in bribes. Work of 
this kind is always done secretly, and neither the giver 
nor the receiver cares to keep, or at least to expose, a 
record of the transaction. But it is pretty certain that 
wherever in any European country Philip had an 


interest, or thought he had an interest, he paid and 
fertilized his agents, though he was impoverishing 
himself. The age was not nice in receiving money. 
Kings and nobles, ministers of state and judges, were 
not at all above taking money or money's worth 
for their services. Men who wanted favours done, or 
losses averted, went with cash in their hands to those 
who were sworn to execute justice between parties. 

Of course the greater part of Philip's bribes were 
wasted. He did not get value received for what he 
spent. In the nature of things, it was not possible 
always to carry out a timely treason. There must be 
opportunities, there must be agents. The opportunity 
may not come, and a rash attempt, foredoomed to 
failure, would be worse than any delay, however long 
and costly. The agents too must be carefully selected. 
They might turn on those who employed them, and 
make terms with those whom they prefessed to betray, 
or pretended to destroy. One of the men whom 
Parma hired to murder Orange went straight to the 
Prince, gave full details of the plot, and remained for 
his whole life a faithful and useful servant of the States. 
We do not read that he sent back the money to Parma 
with which he was supplied. We know that Guise, 
who, took Philip's money, intended to baffle Philip's 
plans in his own interest ; and after the murder of 
Guise, when his brother and son also took Philip's 
money, for the same professed aims, they in the end, 
and for a price, threw over Philip and acknowledged 
Henry of Navarre. 

It is inevitable that the tools and hirelings of bad 
men will be bad themselves. The doctrines of Machia- 



velli were not even wise, shrewd as they seem to be. 
For one hit which policy succeeds in — for dissimulation 
and lying used to be called policy in public affairs — it 
makes twenty misses. Perfidy may not only make its 
victims cautious, it may make them equally perfidious. 
At any rate, the man who secures agents by hire for 
evil ends, need not be surprised if his agents betray 
him, and he loses both money and reputation. No 
political system, which has been founded on lying, is 
discovered to be stable in the end. The ambitious 
schemes of Philip, and the arts he employed to effect 
them, were the ruin of Spain. For a long time she 
was the terror of the nations. Even when Holland 
pricked the bubble she still seemed formidable. 


C Iw yJwl^fcW" * Wi 

V^JHt'CT^V " ^t.^jC^i-jy/5 




O 'f^yjL *Hyfr?< I ^cr 







THE Queen of England was perfectly alive to the 
necessity of curtailing or even of extinguishing Philip's 
power in the Netherlands. She knew what were the 
designs of the " prudent " king against her, open and 
secret. She was so well served in the matter of spies, 
that she knew almost as well as Orange did what 
passed in the king's cabinet, and at his writing-desk. 
Walsingham, her best and most far-sighted adviser, 
was as keen as a bloodhound in scenting out a plot. 
She knew that if Philip vanquished the Netherlands 
a descent upon England would certainly be attempted 
and be probably effected. It is probable that she did 
rjot fully understand how Philip's hands were occupied 
in France, but she knew well enough how little 
trust she could put in the French king. She did 
know that Philip was preparing a vast armament, and 
she had no doubt about its destination. The exploits 
of Drake had, indeed, delayed the issue of the Armada, 
but Philip was undeterred by any loss from projects 
on which he had set his heart. The Armada how- 



ever, did not sail till four years after the murder oi 

Charles the Ninth, fourth king of the house of Valois, 
died in 1574, exhausted by remorse, as we are told, for 
the horrible but fruitless massacre of St. Bartholomew, 
which had been perpetrated two years before. Two 
brothers survived him — Henry, then King of Poland, 
who became at once King of France, and speedily 
quitted his old for his new kingdom ; and Francis 
Hercules, Duke of Anjou, whom we have seen before 
in the capacity of Duke of Brabant, and capital conspi- 
rator against the liberties of Flanders, and of Antwerp 
in particular. Henry was now the last of the house 
of Valois, his heir being Henry of Navarre, at that time 
a Huguenot. 

Henry was as false as Philip. But he had vices 
more odious and scandalous in the eyes of the 
people than any other French king ever had. His 
reign was one perpetual civil war. At one time 
he was fighting with his kinsmen of Navarre, at 
another time with his insurgent nobles. Though he 
showed no love for his Calvinist subjects he was 
obliged to respect them and even to conciliate them, for 
they might help him against the faction of the Guises. 
Now the people of Paris and some other large towns 
in the North, who were more fanatically attached 
to the old religion than even the Pope himself, were 
determined to curtail the king's power and play into 
the hands of the Spanish king, or at least appear 
to do so. With the view of protecting their religion, 
the nobles founded and maintained an association 
which went by the name of the Most Holy League, 


and finally Madam League. The real object of this 
association was to make the nobles independent of the 
king, and in case he died childless, to exclude the 
heretical Henry from the throne. Philip, as we have 
seen, intended the throne for his daughter. Guise, 
who took Philip's money, purposed if possible to 
occupy it himself. But it was Philip's interest that 
France should be if possible exhausted and impove- 
rished, and therefore the League was under his especial 

Civil war was chronic during Henry's reign. There 
was hardly a year of peace during his fourteen years 
and more of reigning. We have seen that to the last, 
however, Orange strove to get a French king or a 
French prince to undertake the sovereignty of the 
Netherlands, of course under guarantees for the liberty 
and the institutions of the people. After the death of 
Orange, Olden Barneveldt, the great Advocate of Hoh 
land, carried out his policy, and negotiated with Henry, 
till the French king, after protracted and delusive 
playing with them, finally declined the offer made him. 

The States intended, had the King of France 
accepted their offers, to give him a very limited sove- 
reignty in their country. Whether if he had accepted 
it, or, indeed, could have accepted it, he would have 
treated his pledges with more good faith than his 
brother did, may well be doubted. But even as a 
very limited ruler in the Netherlands, the position 
would have been highly advantageous to him as King 
of France. It was from the side of the Netherlands 
that nearly all the historic invasions of France had 
been made. When the English tried to make good 


their footing in France, the goodwill of the Netherlands 
vvas indispensable to them. Edward the Third of 
England found Arteveldt the brewer of Ghent, a ne- 
cessary ally in the fourteenth century ; and the friend- 
ship of the Duke of Burgundy in the fifteenth aided the 
victories of the house of Lancaster, as his enmity 
arrested them, and finally expelled the English from 

It was from the Netherlands that Philip was able to 
win the victory of St. Quentin, and dictate the Peace 
of Cateau Cambresis. We shall find that Parma with 
his army in Flanders, raised the siege of Paris, and 
raised the siege of Rouen. A century afterwards, 
when France was consolidated, and had become the 
first military power in Europe, under Louis XIV., all 
the efforts of the great king were directed towards the 
acquisition of the Flemish towns. It was here that 
most of Marlborough's battles were fought and won, 
the Dutch of that day believing with reason, that the 
conquest of Flanders by the French would be the 
ruin of Holland. Had Henry and his mother been 
able to comprehend the supreme significance of 
Flanders to the French monarchy, and comprehending 
it, had they imagined that they would be able to hold 
them, it seems plain that they should have grasped at 
the opportunity. Henry the Fourth would have 
formed a different judgment on the situation, had he 
been on the throne, and had his hands been free to 
extend the bounds of his kingdom. 

Henry III. declined their advances, and much pre- 
cious time was lost in vainly negotiating with him ; for, 
during this embassy, Antwerp was invested and after 


a protracted siege reduced. Ghent was gone, Brussels 
was gone, Mechlin was soon to follow, and freedom 
was confined to Holland and Zeland. The assassina- 
tion of Orange was more valuable to Parma than an 
army of forty thousand veterans ; for the master mind 
whom the cities trusted, and who could, though not 
without incessant labour, hold them together, was 

The Hollanders now turned to Elizabeth. It is 
necessary to know a little of the position of the 
great Queen, whose aid, grudgingly and capriciously 
given, was after all of inestimable value in the early 
days of the forlorn republic. Elizabeth had suc- 
ceeded to the throne of a country which had been 
impoverished by the wanton extravagance and cruel 
frauds of her father, and by misgovernment in the 
reigns of her brother and sister. England had 
been wealthy and powerful a generation or two 
before ; it was now poor and weak. If Elizabeth 
was penurious, she had need to be. The estates of 
the crown had been wasted, and the people had 
been impoverished. Her own birth was ambiguous. 
Her cousin, Mary Stewart, had quartered the arms of 
England when she was Queen of France, and never 
could be brought to disavow the act, even when she 
was Elizabeth's prisoner. She was excommunicated 
by the Pope, dethroned in words, and assassins were 
incited to attack her. She was the perpetual object 
of conspiracies, all of which were detected and 
baffled. She had her troubles at home, for Elizabeth 
was imperious and intolerant, and some of the exiles 
of Mary's reign had come to England with views 


about church government which did not suit her taste 
She was extremely poor, her revenue was inelastic, 
and she was abundantly cautious. 

Elizabeth had very sagacious counsellors. Burghley, 
the most wary of them ; was as hesitating as his mis- 
stress was. Walsingham was far more clearsighted 
and bold, and had the temper of Elizabeth squared 
with his, the queen would have gone far more heartily 
into the matter. Now the Hollanders wanted two 
things, money and troops, especially land forces, for 
the Beggars of the Sea were fairly competent to 
defend their own shores, and take account of Spanish, 
forces on the water. Elizabeth could supply the 
Hollanders with some troops, and she sent them some 
excellent generals of division, though, one must say 
with shame, some of these, as Yorke and Stanley, 
were traitors. She would not take the sovereignty 
of their country on any terms, and always advocated 
a double protectorate. She was very hard about 
advancing them money, slow to grant it at all, and 
always insisting on security for it. It is fair to add 
that she never got back the whole of the money she 
lent them, and that her successor released the 
guarantees, the so-called cautionary towns, for a good 
deal less than the admitted debt. 

She also gave them a commander, or lieutenant- 
general governor, in the person of the Earl of Leicester, 
her favourite. Leicester was a handsome man, and 
of commanding presence. Early in Elizabeth's reign 
and later on, it was believed that she intended to 
marry him, not in England only, but elsewhere. He 
was the son of Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, 


executed for high treason at the beginning of Mary's 
reign, and grandson of Dudley, one of Henry the 
Seventh's instruments of extortion, who was executed 
at the beginning of Henry the Eighth's reign. He 
was also brother of Guildford Dudley, the husband 
of Jane Grey, who had been styled queen for twelve 

Leicester was an unfortunate choice for Holland. 
He had no military experience, and was to be op- 
posed to the greatest general of the age. His head, 
never very strong against temptations to pride and 
arrogance, was fairly turned by the deference which 
was shown him in Holland, and the importance which 
was attached to his mission. He chafed without 
judgment at the restraints which the jealousy of the 
Republic put on his authority. It was difficult for 
an English nobleman and courtier in those days to 
imagine that burghers and artizans and farmers had 
a right to any political opinions whatever, much less 
to take part in affairs of State. He was in Holland, 
with intervals, for three years, and was hated as 
heartily by the Dutch on his departure as he was 
welcomed at his first appearance. The Queen was 
angry with him, angry with the Dutch, and should 
have been angry with herself for having made so 
bad a choice. 

It should not be thought, however, that Elizabeth 
was not of great service to Holland in the crisis of 
the republic, despite the errors of her favourite and 
the treachery of some of her subjects. Their mis- 
conduct, mischievous as it was, was atoned for by the 
valour and conduct of such men as the Veres and 



Roger Williams. But it was the destiny and the 
glory of Holland that she attained her independence 
and her power mainly, if not entirely, by her own 
spirit and determination. Holland had in the end 
to rely on herself, to form her own armies, her own 
navies, her own commanders by sea and land, and 
her own trade ; and not only to give the world a 
spectacle of unflinching heroism, but to teach it a 
thousand lessons for peace or war. Perhaps it was 
well for Holland that Leicester did not possess the 
genius of Parma. 



The Hollanders were negotiating for the transfer of 
themselves under the forms of a limited sovereignty, 
so limited that the new Count of Holland would 
have little more than a titular supremacy, with Henry 
III. of France and Elizabeth at the same time. 
Henry at last threw them over. He had little chance 
of aiding them, less of engaging them in a new fight 
for their independence, for he had much ado to 
maintain his own. Guise and the League, Paris and 
Spain, were perpetually in arms against him, to say 
nothing of his cousin and successor, Henry of Navarre. 
By dint of bribes, Philip was assured that he could 
paralyze the action of France, were the king ever 
so willing to appropriate the Netherlands, and 
perhaps secure the throne of France for his daughter 
when the last Valois king was out of the way. But 
there was also England to conquer, which Philip 
thought was an easy task for Parma to accomplish. 

Now Parma knew that it was necessary for him 
to secure the best port in the Netherlands, if this 


purpose was to be carried out. The Spaniard, vic- 
torious and confident by land, was a very poor creature 
on the water, and in no sense a match for the water 
Beggars. Still, with a big fleet in a safe harbour 
protecting a convoy of veterans to the Thames, much 
might be done. It does not seem that Parma took 
much thought of the English sailors, though Drake and 
Hawkins had already given a taste of their quality. 

Now there was no harbour in the Netherlands 
like Antwerp. Safe, capacious, deep, the Scheldt 
could hold all the navies of Europe. But Antwerp 
was in the hands of the patriots, and Orange was no 
more. Antwerp must be captured. " If we get 
Antwerp," he used to say, " you shall all go to mass 
with us ; if you, we shall all go to conventicle 
with you." 

Within nine months Parma secured all the cities 
of Brabant but Antwerp. Ghent and Dendermonde 
went first. Then Brussels, next them Mechlin, and 
Antwerp was besieged, to fall also. All this was 
foreseen as possible by Orange, and before his death 
the plan of defence was indicated. Orange saw that 
if Parma could throw a bridge over the Scheldt he 
could reduce Antwerp. But there was a way of 
baffling him. If Antwerp could be converted from 
a river to a sea port, all the efforts of Spain, in the 
teeth of the Zeland sailors, would be vain. To 
do this, it was necessary to break down the great 
dyke and to let the ocean in upon the polders. It 
would be a temporary measure ; when the siege was 
baffled, the dyke could be repaired and the lake 
be again converted into pasture. 


And now the siege was imminent, and Saint 
Aldegonde, the military governor of the place, was 
about to carry out the plans of the dead Stadtholder, 
when he encountered serious obstacles. Antwerp 
was divided into factions, and the military au- 
thorities, which at that time should have been 
supreme, were resisted by the personal interests of 
trading associations. It was madness, they alleged, 
to think that Parma could build the bridge. It was 
madness to submerge the meadows. Besides, the 
most trusted officers of the republic were strangely 
insubordinate and dilatory on a sudden. Treslong 
was negligent, his successor was well-meaning but 
incompetent, and the commander of the land forces 
was capricious. The master mind was gone. 

During the winter of 1584, Parma was collecting 
all the materials necessary for effecting that which 
the Antwerpers believed to be impossible. During 
this time Antwerp was being furnished with supplies, 
for the price of food was high in the city, and plenty 
of skippers are venturous enough to brave Parma's 
forts. Then the Antwerp magistrates, as if with the 
view of assisting the blockade, fixed a maximum 
price of corn, and effectually starved themselves. 
The sluices were opened it is true on the Flemish 
side, and this measure ultimately assisted the designs 
of Parma, by making it easy for him to bring up 
supplies. When it was too late, those who opposed 
the piercing of the Blauw Garen dyke was anxious 
to undertake it. But it was already occupied by 
soldiers, by ammunition, and by forts. 

The breadth of the Scheldt at the point where 


Parma was building his impossible bridge was 2,400 
feet, and its depth 60 feet. The piles on which the 
bridge was built were driven 50 feet into the ground 
below the river, and yet nothing but light skirmishes 
were attempted by the Antwerp garrison and militia, 
in one of which the bravest and most energetic of 
the commanders was captured. On February 25 the 
bridge was completed, the deeper parts of the river 
being covered by a floating bridge, and the Scheldt 
was closed. And the marvel was that while Parma 
was performing his great feat, his army was almost 
without supplies, and he was totally neglected by 
Philip. . 

Now there was living at Antwerp an Italian, one 
Gianibelli, a man of great skill in chemistry and 
mechanics. He had once offered his services to 
Philip, but weary of the affronts and delay he met 
with in Spain, he vowed to do him a mischief. He 
had counselled the city of a plan for effectually 
victualling it, but had been snubbed. He then en- 
treated them to give him some ships from the city 
fleet, in order that he might make an attempt on the 
bridge. With difficulty he induced them to give 
him two, in the hulls of which were built what 
were virtually floating mines, containing several 
thousand pounds of powder. Besides these, several 
fire-ships were sent down the river. One of the 
vessels was to be fired by a slow match, the other by 
clock-work. As the fire- ships floated down, Parma 
massed all his troops on the bridge. Of the two 
infernal hulls, that which was provided with a slow 
match burnt out harmlessly. The Spaniards boarded 


the other, when a terrible explosion followed. A 
thousand Spaniards were instantly slain, a breach 
was made in the bridge, and had the Italian's ex- 
pedient been followed by action, Antwerp would 
have been relieved, Parma baffled, and the war of 
independence probably shortened at once. But 
Antwerp was again ill-served by her commanders, 
and Parma was allowed to restore his bridge without 
hindrance from the besieged, or even their allies 

Gianibelli's efforts had indeed failed for a time. 
But three years afterwards, when a still more sig- 
nificant struggle was being waged, the memory of the 
devil ships, as they were called, did more to baffle, 
disperse, and destroy the great Armada, than the 
attacks of Drake and Effingham. The cry of " The 
Antwerp fire-ships ! " sent a panic through the whole of 
the bravest Spanish soldiery. 

At last the besieged determined to make the effort 
of piercing the dyke. The first attempt was un- 
successful, owing to one of these misunderstandings 
which always were playing into Parma's hands. On 
May 26th they were more successful. They occupied 
the dyke after a fierce struggle, and instantly began 
to break it. But even then the same fatal in- 
capacity showed itself. The leaders of the expedi- 
tion returned to Antwerp to rejoice over their victory. 
Parma also returned, the Hollanders were driven from 
their work, and the dyke was repaired. On August 
17th, the capitulation was effected, and Antwerp was 
reckoned among the obedient cities thenceforth. But 
its trade and manufactures were destroyed. The 


Dutch closed the port almost as firmly as Parma 
had, and the heretics, who had all the industry and 
nearly all the capital, migrated to Amsterdam, 
They were succeeded by the Citadel and the Jesuits. 
It was believed indeed that with the fall of Antwerp 
Holland and Zeland would be early and easily 
subdued. As it was their spirit was strengthened, 
their resistance was more stubborn, their resources 
were developed. As yet, however, no one guessed 
what would be the future of the republic. 

The English court understood in its own way, 
clumsy and selfish to our eyes, but infinitely honest in 
comparison with the conduct of other courts, what 
was the interest of Holland, and what was the 
interest of England. France was smooth and false, 
England was rough and not over ready. The 
Dutch believed that France was strong, England 
weak. It was strange that they should entertain the 
former view, but not strange that they should fancy 
the latter. Nor is it strange, considering the practice 
of the times, that Elizabeth corresponded with and 
tried to overreach both friends and enemies. But for 
the history of Holland, the presence of Leicester in 
that country, the intrigues of the English queen, and 
the alternations of hope and disappointment to which 
her action gave occasion, have no interest for the 
general reader. There was a party in England which 
desired peace with Spain. The marvel is that any 
one believed that Philip was even commonly honest. 
It is more important to see how men who had 
nothing to do with intrigues had been indirectly 
serving the cause of public liberty, by showing the 
intrinsic weakness of despotism. 

drake's expeditions. 145 

Drake had gone round the world in 1577, and had 
picked up a good deal of experience, and some pro- 
perty which belonged to the King of Spain, on his 
voyage. There was to be sure no war declared with 
Spain, but, on the other hand, there was no peace ; and 
Drake, much to the inconvenience of Philip, was 
making war on the Emperor of the Indies, though on 
his own account. By an instinct which could hardly 
have been accidental, he fastened upon those regions 
in 1586 from which Philip got his supplies of money, 
and very much disconcerted the prudent monarch. 
Now as all the hopes of Philip depended on his 
treasure ships from the New World, any interruption 
of supply was exceedingly serious to Parma, who 
occupied the position of fifth mortgagee on Philip's 
treasury. There was first the Spanish administration, 
next France, next the Pope, next the preparations for 
a descent on England to be satisfied, before Parma 
could expect or get a maravedi. Now a maravedi is 
about one-sixteenth of a penny sterling, or one-eighth 
of a cent. 

Drake had been sacking and burning the 
Spanish towns in the Gulf of Mexico. " He was a 
fearful man to the King of Spain," said Burleigh, 
"The most contemplative ponder much over the 
success of Drake," said Parma. But the secret 
negotiations for peace with Spain were still carried on 
by the English court, and Parma believed they were 
genuine. So there had been carried on negotiations 
for the marriage of Elizabeth with Anjou. Mean- 
while Parma advised an invasion of England, in 
October, 1586. Meanwhile Sidney was killed in the 



skirmish at Zutphen, and Leicester continued to 
make himself distrusted, and finally detested in 
Holland. Yorke and Stanley, entrusted with strong 
places in Holland, betrayed them to Spain, and the 
English began to suffer in the estimation of the 
Dutch, for the treason of their countrymen. Parma 
got possession of Sluys, a convenient port for the 
English invasion. 

But on April 2, 1587, Drake sailed from Ply- 
mouth with four of the queen's ships, and twenty- 
four others from London and other places. It was a 
joint-stock buccaneering adventure, the stimulants to 
which were profit and patriotism. Just after he had 
started, the queen sent to recall him. I cannot but 
think that she intended to be too late. Any way, he 
heard that a great store of ships and munitions of 
war were being accumulated at Lisbon and Cadiz.. 
On April 19th, Drake entered the bay of Cadiz, 
destroyed ten thousand tons of shipping, and with 
them the stores which Philip was collecting. Thence 
he sailed to Lisbon, and destroyed a hundred more 
vessels. He evaded easily the great galleys of the 
Spaniards, and did his mischief before the face of the 
Spanish admiral. Then he took a rich prize with its 
treasure on board, and having now " singed the King 
of Spain's beard," as he said, he sailed back to 
Plymouth, to be disavowed by Elizabeth. But he 
had delayed the Armada. 

The designs of Philip in 1588, the year in which 
the Spanish Armada actually sailed, were well masked. 
It was said and believed that the object of the 
armament was the New World, in which a great and 


wealthy country was to be conquered. But the real 
purpose of the expedition was not concealed, either 
from the leading statesmen of Holland or from some 
of the public men in England, least of all from the 
freebooters, Drake and his friends. The Dutch before 
the year was half over, effectually blocked every outlet 
for Parma and his troops. 

The English navy was in number 197, in tonnage 
29,744 ; the seamen were 15,785. But only one vessel 
was over 1,000 tons, and only ten over 500. The 
tonnage of the Spanish fleet was 59,120, the size 
from 1,200 to 300 tons, and the number on board was 
about 30,000. The fleet was to pick up Parma's 
army of 17,000, and to land them at Dover. The 
admiral of the fleet was to be Santa Cruz, an 
experienced and competent commander. But before 
the Armada sailed Santa Cruz was dead. His place 
was filled by the Duke of Medina Sidonia, who was 
far from being his equal in experience or ability. 
The Armada sailed from Lisbon at the end of May, 
met with rough weather, had to put into Corunna, 
and to wait till July 22nd. On July 29th they first 
got sight of England, and Englishmen got sight of 
them, and swarmed out of the numerous ports of the 
south coast in order to deal with them. Their first 
encounter was on Sunday, July 31st. On Saturday 
August 6th, the Spaniards reached Calais roads, the 
weather, as yet, being favourable to them. The 
English fleet followed them, and anchored a mile and 
a half from them. The Dutch fleet was guarding the 
coast, and effectually preventing Parma's exit, or a 
junction between him and Sidonia. The moon was 


at the full. A conference of captains was held on 
Lord Howard's vessel, the Royal Ark. 

Winter suggested that some fire-ships should be 
sent amongst them. Gianibelli was then in England 
constructing fortifications on the Thames, and the 
English remembered the Antwerp devil-ships, the 
Spaniards remembering them still better. So on 
Sunday, August 7th, they determined on making the 
attempt. The day had been fine, but towards even- 
ing the clouds rapidly gathered, thunder was heard, 
and a tempest was evidently at hand. At midnight 
the Spaniards saw suddenly six burning vessels 
bearing down on their lines. There was an instant 
cry of " The fire-ships of Antwerp ! " and an instant 
panic. Every cable was cut, and many of the 
vessels got entangled. Some were burnt, and in the 
morning many were disabled, and the rest driving 
towards the dangerous coast of Flanders. 

The rout and the ruin of the Great Armada is the 
best-known fact in the history of all English-speaking 
nations. It is unnecessary to describe it here. It is 
sufficient to say that Philip, apparently convinced 
that his own resources for his own purposes were 
boundless, heard of the destruction of his fleet with 
equanimity, and instantly set to work to repair the 
loss, and make a fresh venture, as soon as ever the 
opportunity for action might present itself. So con- 
vinced was he, or so convinced were his advisers 
that the model of the Spanish navy was, under 
ordinary conditions, the best which could be devised, 
that from this time, even to the establishment of peace 
with England and Holland, the dockyards of Spain 


kept reproducing the same awkward and unmanage- 
able type of vessels, and thereby offered the Dutch 
and English admirals every opportunity of inflicting 
on Spain the most crushing defeats on sea, even when 
the odds seemed desperate, and the Spanish force 
seemed overwhelming. 

The lesson which the Dutch and English learned 
from these encounters, and especially from that with 
the Armada, was of the highest significance in the 
history of both nations. They came to the conclusion, 
and this not without reason, that they were invincible 
on sea, and the conviction, as time passed on, assured 
them of the, certainty. As far as England was con- 
cerned there was now no doubt as to the policy of 
Spain, even if the stories which are told of Elizabeth's 
blindness to the facts, have any real foundation. 
But both Dutch and English had no difficulty in 
understanding that they could, while baffling the 
enemy's attempt on their own countries, destroy his 
strength by assailing him in the regions from which 
he drew his wealth, in those territories which he called 
his in the New and Old World, by reason of the dona- 
tion of Roderick Borgia or Pope Alexander the Sixth. 

Up to the time in which the truce of 1609 was 
conceded, Holland, as we shall see, carried on this 
warfare against the distant possessions of Spain, and 
instructed the other nations, that the two great 
oceans were not a Spanish lake, reserved for the 
King of Spain only. Even when the cowardly and 
arrogant pedant, James Stewart, succeeded Elizabeth 
on the English throne, and hastened to make peace 
with Spain, the peace in fact only extended to 



Europe ; and the practice of the English, soon turned 
into a proverb, " No peace with Spain below the 
line," constantly weakened the Spanish monarchy 
and finally ruined it. Spain was destroyed as a 
European Power by the dream of Philip after 
universal empire. 

Still for a long time she was conceived to be 
dangerously powerful. The glamour of a great force 
often survives for a long time the reality. Cromwell, 
who saw very far in military matters, was still under 
the delusion that the power of Spain was a danger to 
Europe, when that monarchy had lost all its force, 
and it was not till another danger had come to 
Europe, from the ambition of another monarch, that 
Spain ceased to be a terror to statesmen. 



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s^JSfe^ j5s2?I 






Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma, lived for a 
little more than four years after the wreck of the 
Armada. During these four years many things 
happened, and the course of events out of Holland 
materially assisted the political development and 
union of Holland itself. Similarly too, the extirpa- 
tion of Protestantism in the obedient Netherlands, 
and the atrophy of Romanism in the Dutch Republic, 
led to the limitation of the political system of Holland. 
The ten provinces were alienated from the Dutch as 
much by the religion which they professed, as by the 
government to which they submitted, and by the 
poverty which they had to endure. Had William the 
Silent lived, it is probable that the whole seaboard 
would have been one state, and every part of the 
Netherlands, except perhaps the Walloon Provinces, 
would have been united in one great commercial 
and manufacturing republic. When less than two 
centuries and a half after the murder of William, 
the whole country was formed into a single kingdom, 


the elements of union were utterly absent, and 
it became necessary for Europe to recognize the 
separate nationality of Belgium. 

Late in the year 1588 Leicester died. He had 
resigned his position in Holland, but his partizans did 
great injury to the Dutch by surrendering Geertruy- 
denberg to Parma. This great general had suffered 
his first check at the hands of Maurice, by being 
repulsed in the winter of 1588 from Bergen-op-Zoom. 
On the other hand, another expedition went from 
England to Spain, landed at Corunna, and wasted 
part of the Spanish king's dominions. 

Meanwhile much of Philip's energies and nearly all 
his money were expended on his intrigues with the 
family of Guise, and the malcontents in that country. 
The Duke of Guise had humiliated the king on the 
famous day of the Barricades (May 12, 1588), and 
Henry had fled from his capital never to return. On 
December 23rd in the same year, the Duke and 
his brother were murdered at Blois, by the king's 
command. On the 1st of August following, after 
Henry III. had reconciled himself to his kinsman 
and successor, Henry IV., who was besieging Paris, 
he was murdered by Jacques Clement. 

Now Philip claimed the succession of France for 
his daughter, and it was necessary for him to vindicate 
whatever claims he possessed against Henry, and to 
devote all his energies to this end. So the Dutch 
had some breathing time. He even twice detached 
Parma from his campaign in the Netherlands, whence 
he could be ill spared — once in August, 1590, when 
he compelled Henry to raise the siege of Paris ; and 


again in April, 1592, when he similarly constrained 
him to raise the siege of Rouen. Both these ex- 
ploits showed the greatest military skill, though the 
last was practically the close of Parma's career. 

During this time a greater master of the art of war 
than even Parma was growing up. Maurice, second 
son of William the Silent, had been studying his 
calling with unremitting industry. And now that 
Parma and Philip were so occupied with the affairs of 
France, it seemed that Holland could carry on her 
warfare with greater hope. But the first thing was to 
create and drill an army. The next was to see that it 
was regularly paid. The third was to familiarize it 
with victory, and to make it confident. This was the 
work, and the successful work, of Maurice. There was 
a great deal to be done. Three Englishmen — Yorke, 
Stanley, and Wingfield — had betrayed or surrendered 
the important towns of Zutphen, Deventer, and Geert- 
ruydenberg, while a Netherlander had similarly 
betrayed the capital of Friesland, Groningen. 

On February 26, 1590, the Dutch surprised the im- 
portant fortress of Breda, without the loss of a single 
man, and shortly afterwards Maurice reduced a 
number of other towns and strongholds. Meanwhile, 
as the towns in the obedient provinces were wasting, 
those of Holland were rapidly growing in population 
and opulence. The administration of affairs, though 
it was already liable to that risk of disunion which 
was in the end to be fatal to Holland, was, in the face of 
the common enemy, patriotic and vigorous. Already 
the Dutch were forming that splendid navy which was 
to create an Indian empire, to annihilate the reputa- 


tion of Spain, and even to measure itself against the 
growing power of England. The government of the 
country was in the hands of the States-General. 

While Parma was gone to the relief of Paris, 
Maurice was able to give proof of his military abilities. 
On May 23, 1591, he surprised the fort of Zut- 
phen, and on the 30th he captured the city. On 
June 10th, after a severe struggle, he got possession 
of Deventer. On Sept. 24th he reduced Hulst, near 
Antwerp. On Oct. 21st Nimeguen surrendered. In 
May, 1592, Maurice laid siege to Steenwick, and in 
July stormed it. In July Coevorden was besieged 
and gained, and the young Stadtholder was rapidly 
recovering the strong places of Holland from the 
enemy. His victories were triumphs of military 
engineering, but it may be doubted whether his suc- 
cesses would have been so rapid had it not been that 
his great enemy was constrained by Philip's policy to 
be absent from the country which he was governing, 
and from the plans which he had formed. 

For Philip had set his heart on dethroning the 
heretic Henry, and Henry was a very difficult person 
to deal with. No one could cope with him, though 
nearly his whole kingdom was against him, but Parma 
and his Spaniards, and the Spaniards were nothing 
without Parma. Already under other commanders 
they had yielded to the Dutch, and their general 
himself had been discomfited by young Maurice. 
But Maurice was a scientific engineer. He was not 
yet the equal of his rival in strategy, though he 
already surpassed the captains who had been trained 
under Parma. 



During the campaign before Rouen, and after 
Parma had forced Henry, on May 20, 1592, to raise 
the siege, the Prince determined to capture a small 
town which commanded the Seine. Here he was 
wounded in the arm, and was disabled from active 
operations. Still, he needed all his powers in order 
to effect his retirement into the Netherlands, and 
he achieved this by a masterly manoeuvre. He 
now returned to Paris, and after recruiting him- 
self with a few days rest there, he went away to 
Spa. But beyond the temporary success of his 
expedition he had achieved nothing, for the person 
whom he was associated with was engaged in baffling 

Mayenne, the brother of the murdered Duke of 
Guise, was engaged in a treble intrigue. As the paid, 
and well-paid, agent of Philip he was, to outward 
appearance, engaged in procuring the throne for that 
monarch. He probably knew all the while that the 
French would never accept Philip, or his daughter, or 
his daughter's husband. But at the present moment 
he had to show as clearly as possible that Philip's 
objects were his. Then again he had his pretensions 
to the throne himself. He caused it to be rumoured 
that he represented the family of Charles the Great, 
who had been deposed some seven centuries before by 
the family of Hugh Capet. It is true that his elder 
brother's son was in the way, but in times of revolu- 
tion obstacles are greatly diminished, and are easy to 
be overcome by sanguine and determined men. Then, 
in the third place, he was pretty well convinced, when 
he weighed all the circumstances, that Henry of 


Navarre would win in the end, and that he had better 
accommodate matters with him. The fact is, Philip 
had been engaged all his life in overreaching others, 
and was regularly overreached himself. The only 
persons who served him faithfully were those whom 
he mistrusted, as Don John of Austria and Alexander, 
Prince of Parma. 

For while Alexander was astonishing all men by 
his genius and his fidelity to Philip, while he was 
resenting in the angriest manner the suspicions which 
were circulated about his real objects, and using every 
means in his power, legitimate or infamous, on Philip's 
behalf, his character was studiously blackened to the 
King of Spain, and apparently to the King of Spain's 
entire satisfaction. Without resources, either in the 
country which he held and governed, or from the 
King of Spain either, with soldiers mutinous and 
starving, he still kept an undaunted front and a loyal 
purpose, and scared them, who might have dealt with 
him if they had known the facts of the case, by his 
calm and unflinching courage. 

The men whom Philip had sent him as counsellors 
were spies on him. It is perhaps not wonderful that 
they distorted his acts and maligned his purpose. 
The age was so pre-eminently treacherous ; lying and 
chicanery had been so persistently identified with 
statesmanship, that it was all but impossible to trust 
any one. It was part of the bitterness of Parma's 
lot, that having been false to every one but his master, 
his master believed his servant to be false to him 

Farnese found out that he had been traduced, and 


complained of it bitterly. It is not a little strange 
that in that atmosphere of deceit and secrecy, where 
every pains was taken to prevent the leakage of facts, 
the most dangerous and therefore the most hidden 
particulars were regularly betrayed. Parma's enemies 
wrote to the king in cypher, and Parrna got to know 
the contents of the letters. The correspondence of 
all the parties is now before us, and we find that the 
Governor of the Netherlands contrived to learn that 
which was intended for the eyes of Philip only. He 
tells the king plainly how indignant he is at these 
unfounded calumnies, and the king tells him that 
he has never received the despatches, or, if he 
received them, has forgotten the contents. But 
there they are, the correspondence of the spies, 
scrawled over by Philip, the letters of his ill-used 
general, and the copies of Philip's own letters to his 

At the very time when Philip was assuring his 
nephew of his entire trust and confidence in him, at 
the time in which he was urging him to undertake 
further expeditions into France, and declining to send 
him the necessary funds for the purpose, and at the 
time when Parma was, with characteristic sagacity, 
informing Philip of the state of affairs in that kingdom 
and in the Netherlands, the King of Spain was 
secretly planning to supersede his nephew, and to take 
him prisoner if necessary. He had sent an emissary, 
during the time in which Parma was relieving Rouen, 
with instructions to remove Parma from his office, by 
fraud, if possible, by force if necessary. Even at the 
last, he bade him lead his army into France, and the 



general was on the eve of obeying the commands 
of his treacherous master when the hand of death was 
laid on him. An old man, though still, for his years, 
in his prime, he died on Dec. 3, 1592. He was forty- 
eight years old at his death. 

-Qm*' m 3fe x. 



n3T *1 







■ 1 



It is difficult to say whether the freedom of the 
Netherlands was served better by the death of Farnese 
or the recognition of Henry as King of France by the 
principal persons who had intrigued with Philip, had 
taken his money, and were now negotiating with Henry 
for more money and place and pardon. Certainly 
a more rapacious and shameless crew never existed 
than the French nobility. Fortunately for Holland, 
the miller and the weaver, the sailor and the trader, 
were in the ascendant in the Dutch Republic. Had 
that republic been cursed by nobles, even like those in 
Flanders, it might well have been despaired of. Henry 
of France renounced the Reformed religion for that of 
Rome, was willing, as he said, to win his kingdom by 
hearing mass, and his future career little concerns 

After an interval of little more than a year, a suc- 
cessor was appointed to Parma, a middle-aged, fat, 
gouty, lethargic person, the Archduke Ernest of 
Austria. In the meantime, Maurice had not been 


idle. He had captured Geertruydenberg in June, 
1593. He got possession of Groningen, the capital of 
Friesland, in July, 1594, and now the republic was con- 
stituted, almost within the limits from which so much 
that was heroic and wonderful was to proceed for a 
century or more. But for a long time the Hollanders 
strove to recover the whole of the Spanish Nether- 
lands. Had they succeeded, their history would have 
been a different one, for it is certain that the narrow- 
ness of the republic, and the great demands made on 
it for the work which it had to effect, were the ultimate 
causes of its weakness and decay, at a time when 
Europe still wondered, and believed that its resources 
were exhaustless. The Hollanders were unable to 
bestow freedom on the Flemings. 

After two ineffectual and easily-discovered plots, 
in which Philip had bribed assassins to murder Eliza- 
beth and Maurice, after the Hollanders had spent 
much treasure and blood on behalf of Henry of 
France, who was quite prepared to abandon them 
and make peace with Spain as soon as ever his own 
purposes were served, and after Henry had been 
absolved by the Pope, and the Archduke Ernest had 
died, Philip determined to surrender the Netherlands 
to his son-in-law and daughter. The son-in-law was 
a brother of Ernest, Archbishop of Toledo, and a 
Cardinal. It was therefore necessary that he should 
be released from his vows and his orders, in order to 
fulfil his new function of secular prince. With him 
was sent that son of William the Silent who had 
been kidnapped twenty-eight years before, and had 
been carefully educated by the Spanish Jesuits. All 



the memory that he now retained of his father was a 
profound reverence for his name and character. 

The English and the Dutch now determined to 
make a concentrated attack on certain of the Spanish 
ports. The exploit of Drake, ten years before, gave, 
no doubt, its stimulus to the expedition of 1596. 
Drake and Hawkins, indeed, had just passed away. 
But there were Essex, Raleigh, Howard, and Vere to 
take part with the Dutch admirals. They reached 
Cadiz on June 30th, and destroyed the Spanish fleet 
there, landed their troops, captured the fort, drove the 
Spanish troops into headlong flight, and got possession 
of city and citadel. They would have captured the 
fleet also, but the Spanish admiral, who, eight years 
before, had commanded the great Armada, chose to 
destroy his fleet rather than suffer it to fall into his 
enemies' hands. It was an object with Essex and 
Vere to fortify Cadiz and hold it, or at least to make 
a dash at the great fleet of Indiamen which was hourly 
expected. But Lord Howard peremptorily refused to 
permit either attempt, and the fleet sailed back to 

The capture and sack of Cadiz had no immediate 
military results. In some particulars it was even a 
disaster, as much of the spoil taken at Cadiz was the 
property of Dutch merchants, who were, during the 
time that they were waging war with Philip, carrying 
on a lucrative trade with his Spanish dominions, and 
resenting with the greatest wrath any interference with 
that trade, as they did a century later. Indeed the 
profits of the trade with the Indies, now for the most 
part in Philip's hands, were vital to the Dutch, because 


from it alone they regularly derived the means for 
carrying on the war. Their own Indian Empire, soon 
after to be so important, was not yet founded, hardly 
imagined. Hence they were reproached with supplying 
the very means by which Philip could carry on the 
war, and were said to have sold the Spaniards the 
gunpowder with which Dutch cities were assailed and 
Dutch soldiers slain. But, on the other hand, the 
trade operations of the Dutch were equally essential 
to Philip, for without them he could have been ex- 
cluded from the markets for which these products 
were designed, and from the profits which he found it 
so necessary to realize. 

But the military importance of the sack of Cadiz 
was enormous. The Dutch and the English were not 
afraid of the Spanish war vessels on the Dutch and 
English shores, and had more than once given a good 
account of them. The English, too, under Drake, had 
singed the King of Spain's beard. The Dutch had now 
done the same thing under the guns of a fortress and 
a fortified city, and with scarce any loss to themselves. 
Henceforth we shall see that the exploit of 1596 sug- 
gested to the Hollanders far wider and bolder schemes, 
which they were not slow to carry to a successful 
issue. In these expeditions the English would have 
shared had not James of Scotland and England set 
his heart on peace with Spain and a marriage alliance 
between that decrepid family and his own. Unfor- 
tunately, Holland was so weakened by the temporary 
withdrawal of some of her best troops to Cadiz, that 
she lost an important port to the Spaniards. In the 
same year a treaty, offensive and defensive, was made 


between England, France and Holland, and Philip, 
despite the destruction of his fleet at Cadiz, fitted out 
another Armada, with which he attempted to attack 
England by landing on Ireland. But the Second 
Armada had the same fate as the first. It was over- 
taken, shortly after it set sail, by a tremendous storm, 
in which forty vessels foundered with five thousand 
men on board. 

In the beginning of the year 1597, Maurice, now 
reinforced by his friend Vere, attacked and routed the 
flower of the Spanish forces. It was the first time that 
the Spaniards had suffered so severe a reverse at the 
hands of Dutch and English troops. The success was 
due to the admirable discipline and training which 
Maurice had given to his cavalry. Perhaps the 
victory was to some extent aided by the fact that 
in the November preceding Philip had solemnly 
repudiated all his debts, and thereupon effectually 
destroyed his own credit. During the year Maurice 
continued his campaign, and completely liberated 
the navigation of the Rhine from the Spanish forts 
which barred its use. Meanwhile the financial policy 
of Philip was followed by a wholesale mutiny of his 
army. In the next year, 1598, little was done beyond 
the conclusion of a treaty of peace between Henry 
and Philip, ineffectual negotiations between Holland 
and Henry to prevent this result, and a renewal of the 
engagements between Elizabeth and the States. The 
Peace of Vervins, signed on May 2nd, was a full 
recognition of the right of Henry to the kingdom of 
France. Four days afterwards Philip formally handed 
over the Netherlands to his daughter and son-in-law, 


the Cardinal Archduke Albert, and with them his 
pretended sovereignty in Holland. 

A few weeks after this formality Philip was on his 
death-bed. He had aspired to universal sovereignty, 
and he was now passing away from all authority and 
all power. He had sacrificed millions of lives to his 
ambition, millions to his superstition, and he was now 
perishing in tortures and agonies more terrible than 
any which had been inflicted by his generals and in- 
quisitors. But so convinced was he that he had been 
all his life in the right, that he bore all his sufferings 
with patience, and constantly asserted, as he lay 
wasting away, that he had consciously wronged no 
one. During his long reign of forty-two years he 
had been the destroyer of mankind. It is not clear 
whether he preferred open violence, assassination, 
or treachery, but he used each or all with alacrity 
whenever he had the opportunity or thought the act 

We, in these days of civil and religious liberty, find 
it difficult to recall the temper of an age when, over 
the greater part of the Christian and civilized world, 
these familiar experiences were not only unknown, 
but the vindication of them was held to be treason, 
and heresy worse than treason. The old doctrine was 
that men should hold their lives and their property 
on the will of their sovereign, and though this doctrine 
was never accepted in England or the Netherlands, 
the only parts of Europe where, at the epoch of the 
Reformation, the doctrine was disputed, it was 
insisted on in every Court and inculcated from every 
State pulpit. Before the Reformation it was still more 


uniformly affirmed that the creed of every man should 
be taken from a priest living in an ancient Italian 
town, elected by a corrupt and ambitious body of 
prelates, and not infrequently stained with grosser 
and more hateful vices than any secular potentate 
was. This is the account which writers of an age 
when no schism was dreamed of give of the Popes of 
the fifteenth and first half of the sixteenth centuries. 

The deference paid to the doctrine and discipline 
of these persons, the unhesitating obedience which 
they demanded or exacted, was more degrading than 
the worship of the bull Apis in Egypt, or of the Lama 
in Thibet, because the authority of the Pope was con- 
stantly exercised in enforcing that which the moral 
sense of all but the most depraved secretly or openly 
repudiated. It is true that for a long time these 
criticisms were whispered rather than uttered, were 
conveyed in a language which was not understood, 
and carefully noted by those whose books were never 
published ; for that Authority took measures, never 
known in the history of any other religion, to suppress 
all free thought by the most relentless cruelties. Even 
when the revolt came it was the transference of the 
subjects' faith from a priestly to a royal despot. The 
doctrine of the Lutheran and the English episcopalian 
was, and long remained, that the religion of the prince 
must be the religion of the subject, and that all other 
opinion must be proscribed and punished. Calvin 
and Luther were as intolerant, though not cruel, as 
Torquemada and Titelmann, 

The Dutch were the first to permit, and to acknow- 
ledge, religious toleration. Nothing shows how 



slowly men have been emancipated from priestly 
despotism than the fact that the word toleration, that 
is, the endurance, without any severe penalties, of 
religious differences, should be hailed as the first charter 
of religious liberty. This toleration the Dutch were 
the first to concede. They could not indeed permit 
the open performance of Roman Catholic rites. But 
it must be remembered that in the sixteenth century 
the faith of the Roman Church was a gigantic con- 
spiracy, unsleeping and unscrupulous against any man, 
any state, any race which dissented from it. To give 
way to it, when its supremacy was repudiated, was to 
be treasonable to liberty, to hope, to progress, to 




Holland, and especially Amsterdam, had become 
the entrepot of the trade of North-western Europe. 
Excellent as was the agriculture of Holland, it 
did not supply food for its inhabitants, for the 
skill of its agriculturists was almost entirely cattle 
raising and market gardening. It- is true that 
the development of these industries was hereafter, 
as we shall see, to have a world-wide effect. But 
Holland did not grow wheat enough to find 
bread for a tenth of its inhabitants. But the 
markets of the country were abundantly supplied. 
The ancient forests were gone, but Holland was the 
principal timber mart of the world. Its towns were 
built on peat marshes where not a pebble could be 
found on the surface. But its quays held the produce 
of vast marble granite and stone quarries. It dis- 
tributed the products of the West and East, of America 
and Asia. It throve on the decay of the obedient 
provinces. It absorbed what had been the trade of 
Antwerp, what had been the manufactures of Ghent 
and Bruges, and it added to them of its own. 







Commerce was as necessary to Holland as were 
political and religious freedom, and it carried on its 
commerce, not only with friendly nations, but even 
with its bitterest enemies, and to the last, it stood out 
resolutely and successfully for the freedom of its trade- 
It did not, and it could hardly be expected to do so, 
recognize the same rights of freedom of trade for other 
nations, and we shall see hereafter that the decline of 
Dutch commerce was due to the restrictions which it 
strove to put on the commercial liberty of others, as 
soon as it obtained the mastery in the Indian seas, 
and the one-sided commercial treaties which it 
negotiated with nations whom it had not the power 
or the inclination to subdue. But in those days the 
interest of nations overbore the passions of princes. 
Piracy andbuccaneeringwaspractised between the sub- 
jects of sovereigns who were nominally at peace with 
one another, and trade was carried on between the 
subjects of princes who were at war with each other. 
In no case was this a more marked and obvious fact 
than in the trade of the Dutch cities with the Spanish 

After the union of the kingdom of Portugal to that 
of Spain, Philip, or his advisers, began to see that 
they could cripple the Dutch by interfering with their 
trade at the Spanish and Portuguese ports, and efforts 
were made to stop it. But these were incomplete and 
interrupted. There were no manufactures in Spain 
from which Spanish navies could be equipped, and 
Spanish factors could not buy materials at Amsterdam 
unless the Government winked at Dutch trade in 
Cadiz and Lisbon. Besides the Spaniards wished to 

linschoten's maps. 171 

sell, and the only factors whom they could employ in 
North-western Europe were the Dutch. Hence for a 
long time after the Atlantic had been a Spanish lake, 
and Holland had been at war with Philip for more 
than a generation, the Dutch, though hardy and 
enterprising sailors, had not ventured on the Cape 
Passage, or even across the Atlantic, but had taken 
up the trade of the East and West where Spain had 
found it convenient or safe to fix its locality for 
Europe, and permit the distribution of its products. 
The English, it is true, had sailed round the world, 
though no steady trade had been the result of this 
venture. It is not till the end of the century that 
charters were given to traders in the Levant, and the 
English East India Company was chartered, after the 
monopolies of Alexander the Sixth had endured for a 
full century. 

The first stimulus given to maritime enterprise and 
discovery in Holland was thepublication of Linschoten's 
work on the East. This man was the son of a Fries- 
lander, who had that passion for travel and foreign 
experiences which, when wisely directed, has bestowed 
such benefits on mankind. Linschoten lived for two 
years at Lisbon, and then, getting employed among the 
attendants of the Archbishop of Goa, thirteen years 
in Bombay. Here he patiently collected all the 
information he could amass as to the country in 
which he lived, as well as the character of the voyage 
to the East, its trade winds, harbours, islands, and 
other matters of knowledge to the sailor, accompanying 
his work with maps and charts. This was the first 
information given to the Dutch, and indeed to the 


world, for the Spaniards and Portuguese kept their 
knowledge of the navigation in these regions a pro- 
found secret. Linschoten's voyages was published 
in English in 1598, and his map of the Indies is 
alluded to by Shakespeare in his play of "Twelfth 
Night." In Holland it excited an intense and lasting 

Now, for a very long time, indeed up to very recent 
times, it was believed that a passage could be found 
by the northern seas to China and India, and should 
such a discovery be successfully made and carried 
forwards, that a journey of several thousand miles 
would be saved. There was an ancient belief too, as 
old as the time of Herodotus, that if one could once 
get through the barrier of ice and snow, the navigator 
could sail into a new region of perpetual spring, sun- 
shine, and calm. The age was still uncritical, or at 
least unscientific, and the fable of Hyperborean felicity 
of a race which lived free from the vicissitudes of 
climate was still gravely believed. Linschoten, 
Plancius the preacher, and Maalzoon, were eager to 
attempt the North-east Passage, and Barneveldt lent 
them his powerful patronage. There were indeed no 
maps of the regions lying beyond the White Sea and 
the port of Archangel which had been sought for dis- 
astrously by Sir Hugh Willoughby, fifty years before ; 
but there were strong beliefs, which were accepted as 
certainties by these enthusiastic Dutchmen, that the 
voyage would be easy and successful, and would 
enable Holland at little risk to herself to take her 
Spanish and Portuguese rivals in the rear. 

In those days the appliances of navigation were far 


behind those of modern experience and science. The 
vessels were clumsy and ill-built, the nautical instru- 
ments were rude and few, and the victualling of ships 
was so imperfect, that a prolonged voyage turned the 
best-appointed ships into a hospital within a few 
weeks. Men had no experience of an Arctic winter 
and no expedients by which to meet or mitigate its 
rigour and severity. The weapons with which they 
might defend themselves from wild animals and fierce 
enemies were, to be sure, the best then known, but 
awkward to handle, and slow to use. 

On Juno^j^Q^Jhe first expedition to the Polar 
seas was begun. The voyagers started in three vessels 
and a fishing yacht, the vessels being supplied by the 
cities of Amsterdam and Enkhuizen, and the province 
of Zeland. Barendz was captain of the Amsterdam 
vessel, Linschoten of the other two. The former of 
these visited the islands of Nova Zembla, and 
accurately mapped them. Linschoten passed through 
the Straits of Waigatz, between these islands and 
the mainland, and made for the open sea which he 
was informed would be found there. After sailing for 
a hundred and fifty miles, he was met by violent 
storms and huge ice-drifts, and saw that it was im- 
possible, at least on that occasion, to achieve the object 
of his expedition. On August 15th he discovered 
Barendz's ship, and the little fleet reached Amster- 
dam by the middle of September. They had strange 
stories to tell of the Polar bears, and the seals, and of 
a new and terrible kind of animal, the walrus ; which 
half in sport, half in rage tried to sink their boats with 
its long protruding tusks. 


Linschotcn was convinced that they should reach 
China by the North-east Passage, and next year 
Barneveldt and Maurice, as well as many of the States- 
General, shared his belief. They resolved to send seven 
ships in 1595, and to load them with broadcloths, 
linen and tapestries for the trade which they 
were to open up with China. So long a time did they 
take in these mercantile arrangements that the 
summer was half over before the fleet started. 
Barendz, Linschoten, and Jacob Heemskerk were 
at the head of the expedition. They sailed as before 
through the Straits of Waigatz, and landed on 
Staten Island on September 2nd. Here they were 
attacked by a white bear, and two of their number 
were slain and half-eaten by the beast before they 
could dispatch him. They soon were forced to return 
with the bear's skin and a supply of what they took 
to be diamonds, and were picking up when the bear 
attacked them. They got back to Amsterdam on 
November 18th, and the States-General, greatly dis- 
appointed, refused to have anything more to do 
directly with Arctic navigation, though they offered a 
prize of 25,000 florins to any navigator who should 
discover the passage, and a proportionate sum to any 
one who might fail of success, but might make a 
praiseworthy venture. 

Barendz and others with him determined if pos- 
sible to assay the North-east Passage again. They 
got two ships from Amsterdam, and started on May 
18, 1596. On June 19th they reached a latitude 
which was within ten degrees of the pole. To the 
land which they found here they gave the name of 


Spitsbergen. But in July the ice began to close 
about them, and they resolved if they could to avoid it. 
They got back to Nova Zembla, and after various 
experiences with ice and Polar bears, reached the 
extreme north-eastern part of the island. Here they 
found open water, and were full of hope that the end 
of their voyage was achieved. But they were soon 
undeceived, and the growing masses of ice drove them 
anew into the harbour. On September 1st the ship 
was frozen fast into the bergs, and it was clear that 
they would have to pass through an Arctic winter. 
Fortunately for them the shores of the island were 
covered with drift-wood, borne by ocean currents 
from far distant places. They built themselves a hut, 
and gathered stores of fuel for the long winter that 
was coming. Part of their provisions was bears' flesh, 
and indeed the bears would have eaten them, if they 
had riot been on the alert, and retaliated. On 
October 2nd they finished their house, sixteen men 
being left of the expedition. On November 4th the 
sun rose no more. 

It was now too cold for the bears. They disappeared, 
and white foxes took their place. The Dutchmen 
caught them, ate them, and clothed themselves in 
their skins. It was time, for their European clothing 
was frozen stiff. They nearly in December stifled 
themselves, by lighting a coal fire and stopping up all 
the crevices in their hut. Fortunately, and before it 
was too late, one of them forced open the door. As 
often as they could, they constantly made their nau- 
tical and astronomical observations. On January 24th 
the sun just reappeared, and on the 27th the whole 


disk was seen. Soon afterwards the foxes disappeared, 
and the bears came back as hungry and ferocious as 

On April 17th they saw open sea in the distance. In 
May they determined to start back home. But there 
was no hope that they could again use their ship, and they 
had only two open boats to make the voyage in. On 
June 14th they began to return. On June 20th Barendz, 
though still full of hope, died of exhaustion. After 
many adventures, but without further serious danger, 
they arrived at Amsterdam on November 1st. They 
had been absent for seventeen months, and for ten of 
these months they had suffered the extremities of an 
Arctic winter. The expedition closed all experiments 
after a North-east Passage and the sea of the Hyper- 
boreans. Heemskerk returned to make a great name 
for himself elsewhere, and to be as great a terror to 
Spain as Drake had been. 

In 1595, the Dutch reached the East Indies by the 
Cape Passage, and began the establishment of that 
great institution, the Dutch East India Company, of 
which we shall hear shortly. In 1598 another fleet 
started for the purpose of passing through the Straits 
of Magellan into the Pacific, at that time supposed to 
be the only way to the other ocean. Of the fleet 
which made this voyage one only returned to Holland. 
The Dutch had simultaneously explored the North 
and the South Poles. 



Interrupted as the Dutch trade with Spain and 
its dependencies was, that of England was still more 
impeded, and, in consequence, the Dutch had prac- 
tically obtained a monopoly of Eastern produce in 
North-west Europe. Now of all Eastern produce the 
most generally in demand was pepper. The ordinary 
price of this spice had been from 2s. 8d. to 2s. gd. the 
pound, and the Dutch having got the trade almost 
entirely into their hands, raised it from this price to 4s. 
or even 8s. The Queen therefore determined to erect 
an East India Company among her own people, and 
on December 31, 1600, a charter issued constituting 
that trading association which in course of time 
established the Anglo-Indian Empire. The Queen, 
in order to encourage the trade, not only conferred a 
monopoly on the Company, and empowered the 
members of it to inflict heavy penalties and forfeitures 
on interlopers, but exempted the traders under the 
Company's charter from all customs duties for four 
years. As far as pepper went, the results were satis- 



factory, for from this time forth, the price of pepper 
to the English consumer was very rarely above 2s. the 
lb., and was frequently less. The first capital of the 
English East India Company was ^"72,000. 

On March 20, 1602, the Dutch East India Company 
was formed. The capital of the Company was to be 
6,600,000 florins, or ^5 50,000, so much more rich, or 
so much more assured were the Dutch merchants. Of 
this capital Amsterdam was to provide a half, Ze- 
land a quarter, and the residue was to come from the 
other Dutch cities. The direction of the Company 
was after a time to be proportionate to the rate con- 
tributed by each of the contingents. The fleet which 
sailed from Holland was of the same character with 
the capital of the Company, and the powers which 
the States-General bestowed on their directors and 
their agents are like those which Elizabeth conferred 
on the English Company. It is to be observed that 
this association amalgamated the private companies 
which had hitherto carried on their traffic without the 
general sanction of the States-General, and therefore 
consolidated a trade which was already in existence. 

In our days, it would be unwise and unjust to confer 
a monopoly of trade upon any joint-stock company, 
and to bestow on the members of such a company 
the power of punishing those who intruded on the 
privilege so conferred. But it was a very different 
matter in those times. In the first place, they had to 
contend against the absolute power of the Spanish 
government. In the next, the Dutch and the English 
were a hundred years later in the field than their 
rivals. In the third place, there was need for an im- 


posing display of strength, in order to secure the 
goodwill, and anticipate the possible treachery of the 
Eastern potentates with whom the new adventurers 
had to deal. Now such objects required the expendi- 
ture of a great deal of money not only in fleets, which 
were quite as much armed cruisers as merchant 
vessels, but on permanent works, ports, and factories, 
and it was obviously unfair that they who contribute 
nothing to the outlay should share in the gain which 
the expenditure of others secured. It may be observed 
that the first English voyage was directed to those 
Eastern ports with which the Dutch were already 
familiar. We shall see that in time this rivalry led to 
awkward entanglements, and in the end to serious 
quarrels. The trouble was all the greater, since a 
year after the foundation of the Dutch Company, 
Elizabeth died, and James became king. 

In 1605, the Dutch East India Company sent out 
its third fleet to the East. The second of these fleets 
had established forts and factories in Malabar, and 
had established friendly relations with the princes of 
Sumatra. The third captured Amboyna from the 
Spaniards, and secured the whole town and island for 
the Company. The next object of the Dutch was to 
get possession of the five islands on which alone at 
that time the clove grew. For the monopoly of this 
spice Spaniards, Dutchmen, and Englishmen long 
contended, and warred sedulously. It was probably 
introduced into Europe by the various routes from 
the East from very early times, and was in great 
request. To obtain a monopoly of it for themselves 
the Dutch thought no efforts and no sacrifices too 


great. The Spaniards claimed the islands under the 
grant of Roderick Borgia. The Dutch seized them 
as prize of war. The English, who had ceased to care 
for the Pope, disputed the prize, as they disputed the 
original title. Nor was it possible, however anxious 
James was to cultivate peace with Spain, to en- 
force the same sympathies on his subjects, especially 
when they learned how great a prize there was to 

The Dutch fleet liberated the King of Ternate, 
one of the Spice Islands, from the Spaniards, and 
chastised the King of Tydor for preferring the 
Spanish alliance. They captured the Spanish fort, 
and drove the Spaniards out They got possession of 
the Moluccas, and of the clove monopoly. In 1607, 
the States-General erected the Dutch merchants, who 
traded or buccaneered in the New World into a West 
India Company, with the sole right of trading with 
the eastern coast of America from Newfoundland to 
the Straits of Magellan, with the whole Pacific coast 
and Africa from the tropic of Cancer to the Cape of 
Good Hope. This was a fresh rent in the Bull of 
Borgia, and some results came of it. 

In 1602, the Dutch founded the city of Batavia in 
Java, reviving the ancient name of Holland in the 
tropics, and selecting characteristically a swamp for 
the site of their city. Batavia became the head- 
quarters of the Dutch East India Company, and is 
the headquarters of the Dutch Colonial Empire to this 
day. But during the whole time that the first war 
lasted, the Dutch were extending and strengthening 
this armed trade of theirs in the East, at the expense 

BAT AVI A. l8l 

of Spaniard and Portuguese, defeating their navies, 
storming their forts, and proving to the Oriental rulers, 
who had hitherto no knowledge of any Powers but 
that of Spain and Portugal, that there was one other 
race at least, which was more than a match for these 
Europeans, with whom alone the native rulers had 
been hitherto familiar. It may be well imagined that 
the successes of the Dutch admirals in the Eastern 
Archipelago, were beginning to make even the most 
obstinate among the Spanish ministers eagerly 
desirous of peace, even at the cost of not a little 

Perhaps as good an illustration of Dutch warfare 
in the Indian seas as could be given, is the sea-fight 
of September, 1606. The Dutch admiral, who had 
been for three years past cruising in these seas, and 
had been picking up spoils from trade and war, 
determined to lay siege to the Portuguese town and 
fort of Malacca. He had eleven small ships, fourteen 
hundred men, and a native prince for his instruments. 
The last was indeed no particular good, for his 
soldiers, though picturesque, were worthless ; and it 
was not difficult to understand how easily Spain ar.d 
Portugal were able to give effect to Borgia's Bull. 
So when the Dutch admiral attempted to make use 
of the Sultan of Johore's soldiers for the purposes of 
a scientific siege he found that they were quite un- 
trustworthy, and that it would be madness to expose 
his own troops to the pestilence and heat, which were 
sure to be more formidable than the enemy was. He 
gave up his siege works, and simply blockaded the 


Now at this time the Spanish Viceroy, Alphonso 
De Castro, with a fleet of fourteen great galleons, four 
galleys, and sixteen smaller vessels, summoned the 
Sultan of Acheen to build a fort for his own subju- 
gation, to give up all the Netherlanders in his 
dominions, and to pay tribute to Philip III. The 
Sultan, who knew now what sort of trust could be 
reposed in the Netherlanders, refused to obey, and 
when force was used, met it successfully, for he 
repelled the Spaniards, inflicting considerable loss on 
them. Informed of the danger in which Malacca 
was, De Castro moved with all his fleet thither, and 
encountered the Dutch admiral MateliefT on August 
17th. The battle was indecisive, though the Spaniards 
were in overwhelming force. But De Castro con- 
trived to raise the siege of Malacca. A month after 
a small part of the Spanish fleet had sailed away, and 
MateliefT persuaded his comrades with some difficulty 
to attack the remainder. He sailed back to Malacca, 
and entirely defeated the fleet The rest fled into 
the harbour, and there, in order to save themselves 
from falling into the hands of the Dutch, the Spaniards 
set fire to the remainder of their vessels. Having 
gained these successes against overwhelming odds, 
the Dutch admiral returned to Amsterdam, gave an 
account of his proceedings to the States-General, and 
received their hearty commendations. 

Now the Court of Brussels, the Archdukes made by 
the gift of Philip II. on his death-bed, the sovereigns 
of the Netherlands, and the paper lords of Holland, 
were beginning to be weary of this long, costly 
ruinous war. Their pride, however, made them slow 


to recognize the inevitable. It gradually dawned upon 
them that they should certainly fail, if they strove as 
they had striven for forty years, to reduce the Dutch 
to submission, to extirpate their religion, and set up 
the Holy Inquisition anew in the thriving cities of the 
Republic. But there was one thing to which they 
might cling — the exclusion of the Dutch from India 
and America. If they could succeed in negotiating a 
brief truce, they might impoverish their ancient foes 
by destroying their trade, and when the truce was 
over, might attack them with renewed resources. For 
the Eastern trade of Holland had prospered so greatly 
that if she could keep this she might believe that the 
Baltic trade, her earliest achievement, might be con- 
sidered of secondary importance. Now the English 
were already becoming successful rivals of the Dutch 
in this northern trade, while they lagged far behind 
them in Eastern enterprise. 

The negotiations for peace, commenced three full 
years before the result was finally secured, con- 
stantly broke down when the demand was made that 
the trade of Holland should be curtailed, or practically 
speaking, destroyed. It might be alleged that there 
was no precedent for a sovereign treating with his 
rebellious subjects and acknowledging their inde- 
pendence. Such a result was at variance with all the 
principles and all the practice of public law in 
Europe. Again, that a community should decide for 
itself what its own public worship should be, and 
what toleration it would grant to other religions, with- 
out taking the least into account what the religion of 
their nominal ruler was, was shocking, almost flagi- 


tious. At times the Courts of Spain and Brussels 
seemed content to concede the reality, if the States- 
General would recognize the fiction of Spain's supre- 
macy in Church and State. 

But they might yield all this if they could only 
stop the Hollanders from trading in the East and in 
the West. This was the real pivot on which the whole 
negotiation turned. There were men among the 
Hollanders who desired peace. Such was probably 
Barneveldt. There were more who would let the war 
go on interminably. Such was certainly Maurice ; 
such were the vigorous Dutch captains who traded 
and pillaged so successfully. But Barneveldt would 
not have accepted a ruinous any more than he could 
a reactionary peace ; and Maurice, especially as all 
Europe favoured a pacification, and Holland ran the 
risk of standing alone, could not refuse a peace which 
left his country in the possession of all that it had 
fought and suffered for. So the peace came, on the 
basis of recognizing existing facts, and passing the 
question of the Dutch trade over in silence. The Re- 
public had gained its ends. 



But it is necessary that I should go a little back from 
the reference to the truce of 1609, referred to in the 
last chapter, and perhaps repeat my story. Philip was 
dead, and the Archdukes were Regents in Brussels. 
Just before Philip's fatal illness he made up his mind 
to transfer the Netherlands from the Crown of Spain 
to his daughter and his daughter's future husband, the 
Archduke Albert. The union, though formal, was 
not believed by the Hollanders to be complete, for 
when the negotiations for peace or truce were 
dragging along, the Dutch statesmen insisted that 
the King of Spain should renounce his sovereignty 
over Holland as the Archdukes agreed to renounce 

The Archduke Albert was the brother of the 
German Emperor. He was a Cardinal, and Arch- 
bishop of Toledo, the richest see in Spain. Hence it 
was necessary when he was appointed Governor of 
the obedient provinces in 1596, and Commander-in- 


chief against the revolted provinces, that he should 
get permission from the Pope to lay aside his clerical 
profession. He did not indeed succeed immediately 
to Parma, for a brother of Albert's, the Archduke 
Ernest, filled the place of Governor for about a year, 
and died, for the Low Countries were during a time 
as deadly to governors as they were to soldiers. The 
Cardinal was almost thirty-five years of age when he 
was appointed to this office, and he was two years in 
it before Philip could make up his mind to the 
practical severance of the provinces from the Spanish 
Crown, and to the marriage of the Cardinal with his 
daughter. In the first year of Albert's government 
the English and the Dutch destroyed the Spanish 
fleet in the Bay of Cadiz, and sacked the town. 

Though the Archduke was not to be compared for 
an instant with such men as Don John and Parma, 
his military career was not unsuccessful. But these 
successes, and particularly the capture of Calais and 
certain adjacent forts, assisted in making the alliance 
between Elizabeth, Henry of France, and the Dutch 
more intimate and sincere. So important did these 
successes seem, that in 1596 Philip sent a second 
armada with a view to the invasion of England, 
eight years after the first had failed. Like the 
former, it was destroyed by a tempest. But in 1597 
Maurice won the decisive battle of Turnhout, and for 
a time annihilated the Spanish army. The victory 
was decisive, not because it finished the war, but 
because it proved to the Hollanders that they could 
meet the Spaniards in battle with good hopes of 


But Philip had inflicted on the governor whom he 
had sent to the Low Countries a far greater injury 
than Maurice and the King of France were able to 
compass. On November 26, 1596, the King of Spain 
repudiated all the debts which he had contracted, and 
took again into his hands all those domains, revenues, 
and taxes which he had pledged for the payment of 
the interest on his debts. The effect was immediate 
and disastrous. The Cardinal had carried on the war 
by bills of exchange, and we are told that in one day 
two and a half millions ©f these bills came back dis- 
honoured. In most of the commercial cities of 
Europe merchants and bankers were ruined by scores. 
Frankfort and Genoa were impoverished, and Ant- 
werp was despoiled of all that had been left to it by 
frequent plunderings. The Archduke in order to 
keep any forces about him was constrained to sell his 
plate. The repudiation of Philip's debts was a turn- 
ing-point in the history of the War of Independence, 
for in the year 1597 Maurice contrived to win nine 
fortified cities to the Republic, and to strengthen its 
frontier. But, on the other hand, the Dutch were 
weakened by the practical desertion of Henry, who 
was seeking to make peace with Philip, and in the 
end effected it by the Treaty of Vervins, signed on 
May 2, 1598. On September 13th of the same year 
Philip died. 

The successor of Philip the Second, whose life was 
a long war against civil and religious liberty, was his 
son of the same name. No two persons could be 
more different than father and son. The old king 
insisted on transacting all the business of the vast 


empire over which he ruled himself. It was, of 
course, impossible that he could do this well and 
efficiently, or anything speedily. But he worked 
diligently at his prodigious task, and wore himself 
out over it. Mischievous and hateful as his career 
was, ruinous as it was to every part of his empire 
where he could maintain his authority, he believed 
that what he did was to the glory of God and for 
the ultimate good of man ; and perhaps no man ever 
laboured for his ends so thoroughly and so persistently 
as Philip the Second did. His son did absolutely 
nothing. He surrendered himself at once into the 
hands of his favourite, the Duke of Lerma, and trans- 
acted no business whatever. He was as orthodox as 
his father, and was as unwise as he was orthodox, for 
he achieved the final ruin of Spain by the banishment 
of the Moriscoes. But he had not, even for a day, a 
will of his own. Now the Archdukes became practi- 
cally independent of the Spanish Crown, and it 
became possible for peace to be contemplated, though 
owing to the perfidy of Henry of France, and the 
poltroonery of James of England, the result was de- 

Elizabeth survived her brother-in-law and enemy 
four years and a half. She never failed to recognize, 
capricious and poor as she was — and I am persuaded 
that much of her caprice was due to the straits she 
was in for money — that the defence of the United 
Provinces was the defence of England, and that the 
complete reconquest of the old inheritance of the 
house of Burgundy would be more than a menace to her 
kingdom and his people. But Elizabeth was exceed- 


ingly poor. England was not then a country which 
manufactured for the world, as it came to be two 
centuries later, or traded with the whole world as it 
did a century and a half after the Queen's death. 
The kingdom was then relatively poorer than it had 
been a century before, when the clothweavers of 
Flanders depended absolutely on England for their 
raw material, though the export of wool was still the 
most important English staple. It is true that at the 
conclusion of her reign she granted a charter to the 
East India Company, nearly at the same time that 
the Dutch founded theirs, by enrolling all the East 
India merchants into a corporation. But from the 
beginning the capital of the Dutch company was eight 
times that of the English, and the trade was for many 
a long day twenty times as lucrative. Historians in 
modern times criticize Elizabeth's policy and her acts 
without informing themselves of the means which she 
had at her disposal. Elizabeth made every effort 
which parsimony could aid to improve her finances. 
Brt it was not till nearly half a century after her 
death that the charters which she granted and the 
enterprise she favoured began to be remunerative 
either to the English people or to the royal treasury. 
Henry of France, though he had to fight for his 
throne, and to change his religion in order to secure 
it, was acknowledged at last by his arch-enemy Philip, 
and perfectly understood how unable Spain had 
become to harm him. He formulated, as one cannot 
doubt, the purpose which remained the policy of 
France from his day to our own, the acquisition of all 
Western Europe from the Pyrenees to the Rhine, and 


with them the appropriation of Flanders and Holland. 
For the possession of the Archduke's inheritance 
every great continental war which France waged 
was carried on. Belgium was the battlefield of 
Europe from the War of Independence to the fight at 
Waterloo, in pursuance of the leading French idea. 
Nor do I doubt if the issue of the war of 1870 had 
been different, that Belgium at least would have fallen 
a prey to the Second Empire. Now nothing could 
suit the aims of the French policy more than a war 
in the Low Countries which, by weakening every one, 
made the whole district an easier prey to France. 
This interpretation of French history could be con- 
firmed by a thousand facts. 

After the death of Philip the Second, and for a few 
years afterwards, the war languished. Both sides 
were for a time exhausted. Maurice of Orange with 
difficulty kept up a small army, and the Spanish 
forces chiefly maintained themselves with the plunder 
of the Duchy of Cleves, contiguous to, but no part of 
the ancient inheritance of the house of Burgundy. In 
fact, the expedition into Cleves was private war levied 
on part of the German Empire, the feeble Em- 
peror Rudolph, being utterly incapable of defending 
the province. All that Maurice could do was to 
defend the Dutch frontier. It is probable that at last 
the Spanish Government saw that Dutch trade with 
Spain and its dependencies, however important it 
might be to Spain, was vital to the United Provinces, 
and therefore began to forbid it under heavy penalties. 
They could not indeed extinguish it, for the machi- 
nery of a preventive service was as yet undiscovered. 



But they could cripple it, and weaken Dutch tactics by 
narrowing Dutch commerce. 

During the few years which intervened before the 
final settlement of the twelve years' truce, some mili- 
tary events of first-rate significance occurred, and 
another important personage appeared on the scene. 
The events are the battle of Niewpoort, the siege of 
Ostend, the foundation and exploits of the Universal 
East India Company, and the great naval battle of 
Gibraltar Bay. The person who appears on the stage 
is the Marquis Spinola, who for a time gave some 
hopes that the Forty Years' War might, in a few years 
more, be concluded in accordance with the policy 
which Spain had persistently advocated. 

The investment of Niewpoort and the battle of the 
same name occurred in 1600. The States-General at 
the urgent instance of Barneveldt resolved on an inva- 
sion of Flanders, with the object of weakening the 
Archdukes, who were now forced to rely almost entirely 
on the resources of the obedient provinces for the 
means of war, and it was resolved that the town of 
Niewpoort should be attacked and captured. Niew- 
poort is a town on the sea-coast, at about eight miles 
west of Ostend, strongly fortified, and at high water on 
an island. As Maurice and his army marched through 
West Flanders, the Flemings, instead of welcoming 
him as a deliverer, looked upon his army as doomed 
to destruction, and when they did not avoid his sol- 
diers by flight, plainly showed that they were recon- 
ciled to the despotism under which they were living. 
The march took thirteen days, and any surprise of 
the town was now out of the question. 


The Archdukes were seriously alarmed, and the late 
Cardinal bestirred himself to meet this emergency. 
He even won over the mutineers, who, as was custom- 
ary when their pay was in arrears, had seized on a 
town, and constituted themselves an independent 
army, living by forced contributions on the surround- 
ing district. Before Maurice had reached the object 
of his expedition, the Archduke had collected a con- 
siderable army, and set out to meet him. His arrival 
was unexpected, and many of the positions which 
the Dutch commander had seized in order to fortify 
and protect his communications with Ostend were sur- 
prised. Maurice was caught in a trap in which it was 
necessary that he should be victorious, or his army be 
destroyed, and the Republic probably ruined. To win 
a battle he saw what was best to be done in the emer- 
gency, and he took his measures accordingly. He 
determined to send his cousin Ernest with a portion 
of his force to check the Archduke till such time as 
he could concentrate his own troops on what he knew 
would be the field of battle. But the troops under 
Ernest were seized with panic, and offered little resis- 
tance to the Spanish charge. 

The delay, however, was considerable enough, and 
the check was long enough to enable Maurice to 
collect his troops from both sides of the water. The 
army was in order of battle when the news came to 
th-e commander that his cousin's detachment was 
routed, and that the Spaniards were marching on 
them. The battle was fought on Sunday, July 2nd, 
on the sea-coast and sandhills. After various 
changes, in which the battle seemed lost or won, a 



final charge of the republican cavalry decided the day, 
and the Spanish forces fled in confusion. The Arch- 
duke escaped with difficulty, and his army was anni- 
hilated. But no other result of the victory ensued. 
The Dutch and their allies had proved that they could 
make a stand against the Spanish veterans, and defeat 
them in a drawn battle. They had already proved to 
be their masters at sea. But they did not capture 
Niewpoort or Dunkirk, and so clear the channel of the 
privateers. There was, indeed, one result of this cam- 
paign. With it begins the feud between Maurice and 
Barneveldt, and in the end the execution of the 
Advocate in the square of the Binnenhof at the 
Hague, near twenty years afterwards. 

The town of Ostend had long been held by the 
Dutch, and was now the only part of Flanders in which 
they had a foothold. They had used it as a con- 
venient place from which to sally forth, and make 
forays on the obedient Netherlands, and many a Flem- 
ish country squire was captured and held to ransom 
by the Ostend garrison. At last the Flemish states 
urged that it should be besieged and that the Arch- 
duke should, as they said, remove this thorn from the 
Belgic lion's foot. In order to encourage him they 
offered the governor 300,000 florins a month. Ostend 
was then a fishing village, round which the Dutch had 
raised the most efficient fortifications which the age 
could construct, while, on the other hand, no less than 
eighteen fortresses had been built near it by the Arch- 
duke, in order to repress the incessant incursions from 
the town. So on July 5, 1601, the Archduke began a 
siege which was the most memorable and protracted 
that modern warfare has ever heard of. 

OSTEND. 195 

The peculiarity of the siege of Ostend was that the 
town was not and could not be blockaded. The 
Dutch were dominant on the water, destroying at 
their pleasure and with little loss to themselves, the 
huge, unwieldly galleons of their Spanish enemies. 
With small vessels and far fewer men, the Hollanders 
disabled and sank fleets which were constantly, and 
on the same clumsy lines, built with the object of 
subduing them. Now the harbour of Ostend was 
always open, and it was easy to send men and pro- 
visions, and even building materials into the town 
throughout the whole siege. All that the assailants 
could do was to batter away at the fortifications, to 
mine and to blow up the walls, and, as it were, to dig 
away the ground on which Ostend stood. It is 
difficult to understand why the States-General held so 
obstinately to the sandhill on which the town stood, 
and almost as difficult to understand why the Arch- 
dukes wasted so many lives and so much money on 
the reduction of the town, for the loss which the 
obedient provinces suffered from the Ostend foragers 
was as nothing to the cost incurred for the reduction 
of the stronghold. While the siege was going on, 
and all the resources of the Spanish governor were 
being lavished on the destruction of Ostend, Maurice 
was gaining much more than an equivalent in the 
capture of strongholds, and particularly in the acqui- 
sition of Sluys, a far more important place than 

The garrison defending Ostend, and indeed the force 
attacking it, was composed of all sorts of nationalities. 
Every one who was interested in the art of war, visited 


during the course of the siege the fortifications of the 
town, or the trenches of the besieging army, and 
generally took part in the struggle on one side or the 
other. In the town at least a fourth part of the 
defenders were Englishmen, whom the Queen kept 
reinforcing. The garrison was commanded by Sir 
Francis Vere, one of those military adventurers of 
high birth, who attached himself early to the fortunes 
of the Dutch Republic and the service of Maurice. 
But despite the efforts of the garrison, it was on the 
point of surrendering on the eve of Christmas Day, 
in the first year of the siege. By an ingenious and not 
very honest device, Vere entered into negotiations 
with the Archduke, cajoled him with promises, and 
kept him quiet till reinforcements arrived from Hol- 
land. The general assault which was planned for 
Christmas Eve was postponed till January 7th, was 
made then, and was repulsed with enormous loss to 
the besiegers. After the failure of this attempt, 
pestilence destroyed more of the besiegers and of the 
garrison than the sword did. The siege continued 
through the whole of the year 1602, without much 
progress being made, for many of the Archduke's 
soldiers mutinied, seceded from the army, and under 
the name of the Italian republic seized a Flemish 
town, levied the means of support from the country 
and entered into communications with Maurice. The 
Archduke tried the remedy of excommunication, but 
with no effect. 

Meanwhile certain brothers of a wealthy house in 
Genoa, Gaston, Frederic, and, above all, Ambrose 
Spinola, took part in the struggle. The first of these 


had settled in Flanders, and had been turned into a 
Flemish noble. The second took to privateering, was 
put into command of a Spanish fleet constructed on 
the old lines, was quickly and entirely beaten, with 
the loss of all his ships but one, by a couple of Dutch 
vessels, the whole force on which did not equal that 
on one of the eight galleys which Spinola commanded. 
This happened on October 3, 1602. But in the fol- 
lowing year, on May 25th the Genoese volunteer put 
to sea with eight other galleys, was attacked by five 
small Dutch vessels, was defeated and slain. The 
siege of Ostend was still going on when Elizabeth 
died on March 24, 1603, and James Stewart succeeded. 
For a while the new king seemed disposed to take up 
the cause of the United Provinces more eagerly than 
Elizabeth had. 

In October, 1603, the Marquis Spinola was made 
Commander-in-chief of the Archduke's army. On 
condition of his obtaining this office he had engaged 
to raise the funds necessary for the prosecution of the 
siege and the war from the wealth of his own family, 
and from his credit with the Genoese financiers. He 
had never undertaken military operations before, but 
in a short time he showed that he had natural abilities 
in the art of war, which made him no unworthy rival 
of Maurice. At first, indeed, great discontent was 
expressed at the rash experiment of entrusting the 
fortunes of the army to an untried adventurer. But 
he soon won the confidence and esteem of his troops, 
and captured Ostend, by the slow process of entire 
destruction, on September 20, 1604. The siege had 
lasted more than three years and three months, and 



over a hundred thousand soldiers had perished in the 
struggle. Meanwhile Maurice had captured a com- 
plete equivalent for Ostend in the town of Sluys? 
which had been Frederic Spinola's headquarters. 



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In 1595, after vainly endeavouring to discover a 
passage to India and China by the north-east and 
the frozen ocean of Siberia, the Dutch essayed the 
passage to India by the Cape of Good Hope, and 
shortly afterwards that of Southern America by Cape 
Horn. A century before, Alexander the Sixth had 
granted in the fulness of his power the whole of the 
New World to Spain, and the whole of the Indies to 
Portugal. Spain and Portugal were united by 
Philip the Second, and in theory, the Atlantic, Pacific, 
and Indian Oceans, became the private property of 
the King of Spain, from all commercial intercourse 
with which all nations indiscriminately were warned. 
For a long time the Dutch had limited their trade to 
Europe, but as time went on they attempted, at first 
only by private ventures, to give effect to the informa- 
tion which Linschoten had given them. 

The English queen had chartered the English 
Company on December 31, 1600. On March 20, 1602, 
the States-General granted a charter with the sole 


right of trading by the Cape cf Good Hope, and the 
Straits of Magellan. The existing traders were invited 
to associate themselves with the new company, whose 
privileges were allowed to them for twenty-one years. 
They had no option. For the time the capital was 
enormous, and according to the policy of the States- 
General, the capital stock was distributed through the 
several cities, for half was to be supplied by Amster- 
dam, a fourth by Zeland, and the residue by four other 
cities. The affairs of the Company were regulated by 
a board of seventeen directors, and the Company had 
large powers, in the name of the States-General, of 
making war and peace, of building forts and factories, 
and of entering into treaties with native powers. The 
first two fleets sailed in 1602 and 1603, on each occa- 
sion towards the end of the year. 

This was the beginning of the Dutch East India 
Company, supposed and with reason to be the cause 
of the downfall of Portuguese supremacy in India and 
the Spice Islands. Its career was similar to, and only 
less remarkable than that of the institution chartered 
by Elizabeth in 1600, and reconstructed in 1708. It 
founded an empire as the English Company did, the 
extent of which was greater than that of the country 
in which its chief office was. But the Dutch East 
India Company was from the beginning far more 
under the control of the States-General, and became 
more immediately related to the Dutch Government, 
than the English Company was to the British Parlia- 
ment or Administration. In the end, though the 
possessions of the Dutch company still belong to 
Holland, their intimate relations were destructive to 



the credit of the Bank of Amsterdam, for when 
Holland was overrun by the French at the commence- 
ment of the great continental war, the treasure of 
the Bank was gone, having been lent to the East 
India Company in defiance of the Bank's charter and 
the oaths of the Amsterdam Council. 

The object of the Dutch company was first to 
procure a monopoly of the trade, next to keep up the 
prices of East India produce, i.e., the spices which 
were procurable from 
that part of the world 
only. We cannot, in 
our day, quite under- 
stand how eagerly our 
forefathers desired to 
procure Eastern spices. 
Cinnamon, ginger, pep- 
per, mace, nutmegs, and 
most especially cloves, 
were in universal de- 
mand. The profit on 
the trade was enormous, 
for in the home of their 


origin they were cheap enough. They were to be 
obtained nowhere else, and some of them were 
found in only a few islands. A pound of these spices 
was often, before the Cape Passage was discovered, 
worth as much as a quarter of wheat, and at feasts, 
a seat near the spice box was more coveted than one 
above the salt. I have noticed sometimes that when 
a considerable guest is entertained by an Oxford or 
Cambridge College, and the college happens to be out 


of spice, they are obliged to give an enormous price 
for such a scanty supply as the local grocer could 
furnish them with. 

For a century this trade was in the hands of the 
Portuguese. Then the Dutch dispossessed the Portu- 
guese, and took effectual means for maintaining their 
monopoly, for they bribed the natives to destroy all 
trees, except those whose produce was sold to the 
Dutch factors, and having thus limited the supply, 
they fixed the price at their own discretion. The 
policy was in the end ruinous, and for two reasons. 
In the first place, the Dutch East India Company was 
doing that to other nations, which they resented and 
refused to submit to when it was the policy of Spain. 
Hence they invited, and could hardly complain of, 
rivalry and even active hostility. The quarrels of the 
English and Dutch, continued for generations, were the 
outcome of the spice monopoly. In the second place, 
trade did not under these artificial restraints, increase 
as rapidly as capital did. Hence at a very early date 
the interest of money was absurdly low in Holland. 
It may be added that in order to defend this system 
by all the means in their power, the East India 
Company borrowed largely from the deposits of the 
Bank of Amsterdam, and while they were getting a 
miserable rate of profit on a restricted trade, they were 
plunging hopelessly into debt in order to strengthen 
their policy. 

The exploits, however, by which the Dutch secured 
their early conquests were almost as prodigious and 
against nearly as overpowering odds as the victories of 
Cortes and Pizarro. They were even more remarkable, 


because the combat was with Europeans, who were 
furnished with the same appliances for warfare as they 
were. The difference lay in the way in which the 
appliances were handled. For example, in 1602, the 
Portuguese admiral with more than twenty-five vessels 
sailed to Java, in order to punish the Eastern potentate 
who had allowed the Dutch to trade with him. There 
chanced to be a Dutch captain with five small trading 
vessels, the united crews of which did not equal those 
on board the Portuguese flagship. But he did not 
hesitate to attack and disperse the whole armada, 
sinking some, capturing others, and putting all to the 
rout. .In the same year, Heemskerk, who had passed 
a winter in Nova Zembla, captured a Portuguese 
armed merchantman, with only a small vessel, and 
distributed a booty of a million florins among his 
comrades. These instances might be multiplied, and 
it is no wonder that the United Provinces convinced 
the princes and people of the Spice Islands that 
Holland could protect them against the Spaniards and 
Portuguese. By 1605, the Dutch had succeeded in 
expelling their enemies from the district which they 
coveted. It is no marvel that when the negotiations 
for peace began, they resolutely refused to relinquish 
their East India trade. 

But the most remarkable naval battle during the 
whole war was that of the Bay of Gibraltar in 1607. 
Partly to protect their own commerce, partly to annoy 
that of the enemy, and in some degree to remove the 
consequence of a mischance which had occurred the 
year before, the States-General determined to send 
Heemskerk with twenty-six small vessels to the 


Spanish coasts, with general instructions. The Dutch 
admiral soon discovered that there was no immediate 
prospect of prizes, but an opportunity for measuring 
himself against the Spanish war fleet, then in the Bay 
of Gibraltar, and on the look-out for Dutch traders in 
the Levant. Heemskerk determined to attack the 
Spaniards in their own waters. The battle was joined 
on April 25th. The Spanish commander had fought 
with eminent success at Lepanto, nearly thirty-six 
years before. 

When the Dutch vessels sailed into the bay, the 
Spanish admiral inquired of a Dutch prisoner, whom 
he had on board, what those vessels were, and was 
much amused when he was informed that they were 
certainly Dutch, and that they were coming to offer 
battle. The battle soon commenced and was soon over. 
Both the admirals were slain, but the Spanish fleet 
was totally destroyed, the crews, and the soldiers put 
to the sword, and Spain was pretty well convinced 
that the war, which had now lasted for over forty 
years, would not be crowned by any final victory of 
hers. Victories, so complete and crushing as these, 
made the reconquest of the Spice Islands, and the 
forcible extinction of the Dutch East India Company, 
and the restoration of Spanish influence in the Indian 
seas, more than ever a remote contingency. Holland 
swarmed with men of the stamp of Heemskerk, and 
when one of these sea kings met his death, there were 
dozens to take his room. Eagerly as the Spaniard 
might desire to recover the Empire of the Indies, the 
claim was an impossible dream. Besides the resources 
of Spinola began to fail. Nothing but victory could 
avert bankruptcy, and the victory did not come. 


The real danger to Holland was from that Power 
whose future had not yet been discovered, which had 
hitherto done great services to the Republic, which 
already, as the United Provinces were approaching 
.within measurable distance of their independence, was 
cooling towards them and was rapidly developing that 
bitter trade animosity which made the two great 
mercantile countries open or secret enemies for a 
century. Nor in the nature of things could such 
enmities be obviated. The United Provinces and 
England deliberately adopted monopoly as their prin- 
ciple. At first, and for a long time, it was difficult to 
discover any other form of trade. Private enterprise 
could not satisfy the conditions on which alone these 
mercantile relations could be successfully attempted. 
Only wealthy joint-stock companies could equip 
armed merchantmen, build forts and factories, and 
sustain by arms the settlements which they had made. 
To allow intruders, after such outlay was incurred, 
might be chivalrous, but was not, according to the 
ideas of the time, at all business-like. But in the end, 
settlements of this kind for mere business purposes 
are never successful. The Dutch East India Company 
became like the English company, an empire, with 
conquests, with revenues derived from taxes, with the 
mechanism of government, with rulers and subjects. 

Wi* diff5jG?S 

fit 5r_^B^^raiscS^^s 


Wfl till ~~ ! 0tr^& '-* l^sdtsjrfc. 


^^^^F^« fiSi 'ff fH 



AFTER the death of Elizabeth and the accession ot 
James, the English king held out hopes and then made 
large promises to the Dutch that he would join with 
them and the French king in freeing the Netherlands 
and in effectually ruining the house of Austria. But 
it may be doubted whether James, who, except in his 
persistent admiration of his own abilities, was the 
most fickle person who ever reigned, ever seriously 
intended what he promised. Nor, had he carried out 
his pledges, would he have prevented what some per- 
sons at that time foresaw, that to free the Netherlands 
from Spain would be (unless the treaty of Ghent, 
devised and, to a great extent, carried into effect by 
William the Silent, were carried into effect), that the 
Spanish provinces of Flanders would be occupied by 
France. There was nothing which Henry the Fourth 
of France more ardently desired than the acquisition 
of the whole of the Netherlands, from the French to 
the German border. For this he intrigued before and 
after the truce, and unquestionably had the life of this 


king been prolonged Holland would have finished a 

war with Spain, only to begin another with France. 

The dream of Henry in 1605, was nearly realized by 

his grandson in 1672. Up to our own times, French 

governments have inherited and striven to give effect 

to the policy of Henry of Navarre, and nearly every 

great European war has found that the conquest or 

the defence of the Low Countries was the real object of 

the combat. It was so in the Thirty Years' War. It 

was so during the incessant struggle of Louis the 

Fourteenth's wars, down to the treaty of Utrecht in 

1712. In 1793 war was waged again with the same 

object ; and in 181 5, the battle of Waterloo settled the 

question for a time. The interference of France in the 

affairs of Belgium in 1830 had the same ultimate 

object, and had the war of 1870 been followed by 

French victories it is certain, in my opinion, that the 

frontier of France would have been extended to the 

farthest mouth of the Rhine, as well as to the upper 

and middle stream. 

James soon got tired of the promises which he 
made, promises which he never intended to keep, and 
could not have kept if he would. He proclaimed him- 
self a pacific monarch, and he set himself at once to 
make peace with Spain, which was entirely distaste- 
ful to his people, and to carry out a matrimonial 
alliance between his children and the Spanish 
monarchy, a project to which he adhered during the 
greater part of his life, to the infinite disgust of all 
Englishmen. From acts of friendship towards the 
Spanish Government he soon proceeded to co-opera- 
tion with them. He did indeed nominally remain in 
alliance with the States, but he virtually helped 


the Spaniards in the last struggles of the war. He 
was not even deterred by the discovery of the powder 
plot, which every one at the time believed to be the 
work of the Spanish Jesuits. The attitude of James 
towards Holland at the beginning of the seventeenth 
century led, in the first instance, to that malig- 
nant bitterness which marked the relations of English- 
men and Dutchmen during the whole of that century, 
with occasional interruptions, and even for long after. 
It seemed in the summer of 1606 that the conclusion 
of the War of Independence was as far off as ever. 
There were the same marches and sieges, the same 
attempts, to all appearance likely to be successful, to 
invade Holland, and to invade Flanders; but in reality 
the war was over. In the first place, the Dutch fleet was 
crippling the resources of Spain in the extremities 
of her empire, for it was by the tributes of the East 
and the West that the war was carried on. Now on 
sea Spaniard or Portuguese was no match for the 
Hollander. Besides, Spinola, whose credit on the 
Genoese exchange had supplied most of the funds 
needed for the war, since he undertook the command, 
was unable to meet the obligations which he had 
created. There was a panic and a crash in Genoa, 
and a number of merchants were ruined. Spinola 
could not pay his mercenaries ; they mutinied, 
deserted, and the great general who had proved him- 
self a competent rival of Maurice was rendered power- 
less on a sudden. Just as the war was coming to an 
end, some of those considerable persons who had seen 
its whole course, Justus Lipsius, Hohenlo, and Count 
John of Nassau, the only surviving brother of William 
the Silent, passed away. 


The negotiations for a truce were first entrusted to 
the hands of a Brussels tradesman, and a Franciscan 
friar ; the former soon disappearing, the latter em- 
ployed during the whole negotiations. The first 
t proposal was that a truce often or twelve years should 
be concluded, on the condition that Holland should 
relinquish their trade in the Indies. But there seemed 
to be no authority by which even a truce could be finally 
guaranteed. In the interval an armistice for eight 
months from May 4, 1607, was agreed to. It would 
have been better for the Spaniards if the armistice had 
been proposed a few months earlier; for on April 25th 
of the same year Heemskerk totally destroyed the 
Spanish fleet in the Bay of Gibraltar, and rendered it 
still more desirable that peace should be made even 
at some sacrifice of dignity with these formidable 
Hollanders. But the ruler of the King of Spain, the 
Duke of Lerma, was anxious to sacrifice as little 
dignity as possible. 

It would weary my readers to give them even a 
slight sketch of the shifty and tortuous process by 
which the truce was negotiated, of how the conferences 
were broken off and resumed, till the armistice came 
to an end, and was renewed for short periods, while 
ambassadors and Dutch statesmen were squabbling at 
the Hague. For there were three points on which 
Spain was obstinate. It was insisted by the ancient 
rulers of Holland, and for forty years her baffled 
enemies, that the United Provinces should tolerate the 
open exercise of the Roman Catholic religion, that 
they should renounce their East India trade, and that 
they should allow themselves to be described as the 



subjects of Spain. To these three proposals they 
gave a most steady and resolute refusal, and to this 
refusal they adhered. But in this refusal they were 
not supported by the two Powers who had hitherto 
been considered their friends — the Kings of England 
and France. Both wished to get the India trade into 
their own hands, and both knew very well that Spain 
could not retain it. Besides, the Spanish Court was 
trying to bribe both Henry and James with the offer 
of the reversion of the Netherlands as a marriage 
portion with the Spanish infanta, to become a certainty 
after the death of the childless Archduke. But the 
first thing to which the Court of Spain yielded was the 
acknowledgment of independence, though even this 
under the condition that the other two provisoes 
should be accepted. When at last the treaty was 
negotiated in 1609, all mention of India was dropped, 
and no mention was made of toleration for Catholic 
worship. But a truce of twelve years was substituted 
for peace. The treaty was signed on April 9th. No 
doubt the King of Spain and his advisers had satisfied 
themselves that the acknowledgment of indepen- 
dence was an empty form, that no faith need be kept 
with heretics, and would not be kept as soon as it was 
possible or convenient to break it. 

It may seem strange to us, that the Dutch Republic 
should have refused so obstinately to admit the 
principle of religious liberty or even of toleration. 
But, in the first place, it was outrageous for this to be 
forced on them by a foreign government, which had 
already declared them free, and was itself the most 
intolerant government in existence. In negotiations 


between two independent states, it is sheer impertinence 
for one of the parties to claim that the other should 
do that which is a matter of internal action, however 
wise and good the policy might be. If at the time when 
Great Britain and the States of the American Union 
were negotiating the terms on which the Indepen- 
dence of the Union should be recognized, the Govern- 
ment of Great Britain had insisted that the treaty 
should contain a clause by which the United States 
should bind themselves to keep the ten command- 
ments, the other parties to the treaty might have 
justly resented even so harmless a proposal. For 
there can be no independence as long as one of the 
contracting parties insists on a concession in a matter 
of domestic government. 

And the question was not so simple as it seems to 
us, who have been familiar with toleration, or, what is 
better, religious equality. At that time, as we shall 
soon have occasion to see, religious opinion was the 
stimulus to political action. The immediate toleration 
of the old creed would have been the concession of 
a right that Dutch citizens should be allowed to 
conspire with a foreign enemy against the indepen- 
dence and honour of the state, to be in league with 
the enemy against whom the Dutch had done battle 
for forty years, who did not mean to relinquish in one 
particular the sovereignty which he claimed over 
them, and would probably, if his resources were equal 
to his designs, seek at the end of the time to sub- 
due them. " Was it to be conceded," they argued, " for 
a moment, that we should consent to foster political 
enemies, who would always conspire, and if they 


grew strong enough, would certainly rebel against 
the liberty which we have spent so much to achieve. 
If the Roman Catholics, in Holland, suffer some loss 
of religious freedom, if they are constrained to per- 
form their devotions in private, they may thank the 
bad faith of Spain for the disabilities under which 
they labour. If a king or government thinks proper 
to allege that it will be bound by no promises and no 
pledges, it must not wonder that another government 
is distrustful of its secret emissaries, and watches them 

Besides, they might argue with justice, " a consider- 
able part of the northern provinces of Holland is 
inhabited by a Roman Catholic population. These 
persons have been tolerated and treated kindly. We 
have no Inquisition which is to search them out and 
extinguish their tenets in their blood. Under our 
domestic regulations these persons give us little 
trouble, though sometimes we have been anxious 
about their attitude. But if we are to be told by a 
foreign Power that we are to let these people do what 
they choose in our state, as well as in churches set 
apart for them, we cannot answer for the consequences. 
The mass of our people belong to the Reformed 
Church, and have followed the model of the great 
saint and doctor, Calvin of Geneva. We cannot 
answer for their patience if they see that the rites ol 
that religion which has striven to enslave us for forty 
years, are to be paraded and flaunted in our midst. 
However generously we may be disposed towards the 
Roman Catholics, we are bound to do our best to 
prevent the peace being broken among us. And if 


under the constitution which we have won for them, 
these persons prove quiet and peaceful, it is most 
probable that we shall do, of our own accord hereafter, 
what no human power should or shall force us to do." 

" There is yet something else to be said. We may 
be able to trust Dutchmen, however we may think 
that they err in matters of religious belief. They are 
our own people, and will not lightly commit treason 
against us. But the case is wholly different with the 
Jesuits and Friars. Yield to the King of Spain and 
the Archdukes on this point, and our country will 
be at once infested with these vermin, the common 
enemies of mankind, with whom honest men can 
no more have truce than with a wolf. We will have 
nothing to do with them. We have good reason to 
believe that they are false even to those who permit or 
protect them. To us, who openly declare our distrust 
or detestation of them, they are entirely inadmissible." 

Dutchmen who were familiar with matters of public 
business and the state of the country reasoned in 
this fashion, and were soon able to illustrate their 
reasonings by the example which the dagger of 
Ravaillac supplied. There was only one thing which 
Henry of France and James of England refused them. 
This was the formal recognition of their independence. 
All they could do was to guarantee them the truce. 
But the foolish King of England and the shrewd 
King of France were both gaping after the prize 
which Spain was dangling before their eyes, a royal 
marriage with the dower of the Low Countries. They 
were destined to be gulled. But I am pretty sure 
that if Henry had lived he would have anticipated the 
policy of his grandson. * 


When the peace or truce was signed, the King of 
Spain sent a message, hoping that the Dutch would 
treat their Catholic fellow subjects with kindness, and 
the French king's ambassador pleaded forcibly on the 
same side in forcible language. But of these person- 
ages, one had striven to exterminate by torture and 
fire every opinion which differed from his own, the 
other had been in the counsels of that party which 
had striven not only to keep the King of France from 
his hereditary rights, but had been privy to St. 
Bartholomew, and deep in the counsels of the League, 
the object of which was to exterminate the Huguenots. 
The devil was preaching righteousness, a gang of 
inquisitors, charity and forbearance. On the other 
hand, James of England was earnest in advocating 
the exclusion of all popish opinion. He had no love 
for Jesuits and priests, however much he might wish 
to ally himself with the prince who made his court 
their headquarters. He was still sniffing at the 
gunpowder which they put into St. Stephen's crypt. 
Before long he was to take part in the Gomarist and 
Arminian controversy, to endorse the extremest views 
of predestination, and before his reign was ended, to 
drive the professors of this creed over the Atlantic to 
New England. 



DURING the century which intervened between the 
truce of 1609 and the treaty of Utrecht, the Dutch 
occupied the most conspicuous place in Europe. 
They were courted by rival powers, and during the 
devastating wars of the seventeenth century, were for 
a long time, the centre of European commerce and 
European finance. Their principal city, Amsterdam, 
was deemed to be the largest and by far the most 
opulent in Europe, far surpassing those splendid cities 
of the Middle Ages, Florence, Genoa, and Venice. 
The business of Europe was transacted on the 
Amsterdam Exchange, and the warehouses of this 
town, built on piles driven into the swampy soil, were 
stored with the products of the world. In their cities 
the Dutch were carrying on those manufactures of the 
finest fabrics for which Flanders and Italy had once 
been famous, and piling up the spices of the Indies, 
of which for a time they possessed the monopoly. 
The wealth and the trade of the Dutch East India 
Company was more fruitful than the treasures which 













the kings of Spain had extorted from their conquests. 
It was the principal trading, the principal manufac- 
turing country in the world. 

It was also the country in which improved agri- 
culture was most thoroughly developed. The Dutch 
had not, indeed, land enough to grow grain for the 
maintenance of the densely peopled republic, and 
they had to save and keep by incessant watchfulness 
much of the soil of their country from the ever- 
present danger of the sea. But as soon as ever the 
armistice began, and the people had rest from war, 
they began to pump out the waters of the Beemster 
Lake, and soon recovered no less than eighteen 
thousand acres of rich meadow land from what had 
been a vast expanse of shallow water. Their cattle 
were the finest in Europe, and the produce of their 
dairies found a ready market in foreign countries. 
On the land which they had conquered from the 
foreign enemy and the sea, they laboured with the 
diligence and the success of market gardeners. They 
supplied all Europe with the means of gratifying the 
fashion which they set of ornamental and domestic 
horticulture. For a long time they exported all the 
best garden produce to their neighbours. In course 
of time they extended the cultivation of winter roots 
from the garden to the field, and gradually taught 
European nations how to preserve cattle in sound 
condition through the winter, and to banish scurvy 
and leprosy by the constant supply of wholesome 
fresh diet. The cultivation of the turnip and potato, 
with other products of the same character, has rendered 
it possible that three times as many persons could 



live in security on the same area of land, as were 
maintained with great risks of famine before these 
capital discoveries were made. It is difficult for 
us to realize what were the scourges which afflicted 
the world, before the Dutch found out winter roots, 
and brought them to comparative excellence. It was 
nearly a century before English farmers began 
generally to copy the Dutch model. It was more 
than a century before their familiar practices were 

adopted in the agricultural 
economy of other nations. 
It is impossible to overrate 
the benefits which Dutch 
enterprise and the spread 
of Dutch discoveries had 
on the health of the world. 
When they had carried 
the cultivation of winter 
roots to this pitch of ex- 
cellence, as well as taught 
ornamental gardening, they 
bridge, at Amsterdam. betook themselves to the 
discovery and improvement of what are called the 
artificial grasses, which, by supplying more abundant 
fodder to animals, and much more as well as more 
nutritious hay, again rendered it possible to increase 
stock upon land. The Dutch discovered the use of 
clover, red and white saintfoin, lucerne, and either 
naturalized them or improved them. The English 
writers on husbandry are constantly calling the 
attention of English farmers to the marvellous 
progress which the Dutch were making in these 



directions, and commenting on the folly and slothful- 
ness which forebore to imitate them. The population 
of England was more than doubled in the seven- 
teenth century, by adopting the agricultural in- 
ventions of the Dutch. The extension of their 
discoveries in the eighteenth century again doubled 
the population. 

But keen as the Dutch were after the profits to 
be obtained by trade, by manufactures and husbandry, 
diligent as they were in working out any expedient 
which might add to the material resources of theii 
country, and the citizens who governed the re- 
public, they were as distinguished in the pursuits 
of literature and science. Holland was the printing 
house of Europe, for I believe more books were 
issued by Dutch publishers in the seventeenth 
century than by all the rest of Europe put together. 
Holland supplied the world with the most accom- 
plished jurists, the most painstaking historians, the 
most skilful physicians, and the most original thinkers 
in science. There was a prosperous and prolific 
school of painters in Holland, a most skilful school 
of engravers, before a single Englishman had at- 
tempted either art. The University of Leyden was 
far more renowned in the seventeenth century than 
Oxford, Cambridge, or Paris were, and students 
from all countries crowded into this, the youngest of the 
great universities. Holland was the origin of modern 
international law and of modern physic. It was the 
country from which the best mathematical instru- 
ments, the best astronomical instruments, the best 
nautical instruments could be procured. It discovered 


the art of cutting and polishing diamonds, and for 
centuries Amsterdam possessed a monopoly of this 
art, if indeed it has lost it yet. There was no de- 
partment of learning or skill in which the Dutch did 
not excel. It is said that the genius of Milton did 
not disdain to levy contributions on the poems of 
the Dutch poet Vondel, and to adopt or imitate some 
of his happiest verses. 

It is necessary to state how rapid was the progress 
of the Dutch as soon as ever their independence was 
assured. But perhaps the most remarkable of their 
undertakings was the foundation of the Bank of 
Amsterdam, the most famous, and for nearly two 
centuries, the most envied institution which Holland 
contained. In the days when paper currencies were 
unknown, and would not have been trusted had they 
been known, and the most honest governments levied 
considerable charges on the mintage of the national 
currency, the more widely the trade of the country 
extended, the fuller are great mercantile centres of 
money. It was the object of traders who might 
have to liquidate the balance of their trade in money 
to get possession of such currencies as could be paid 
away with the least loss. Now it is plain that if, 
say, English gold and silver were exported, the ex- 
porter would have to pay the mint charges, for as 
soon as the money got out of the country, it would 
be worth no more than the metal which it contained was 
worth. Any one who may happen to read the books 
which bill-brokers and dealers used a couple of 
centuries or more ago, will be surprised to see how 
many coins in gold and silver, some foreign, some 


English, still circulated in England, not a few of 
them centuries old, which a bullion dealer or 
broker might reasonably expect to be offered him. 
Now if such a state of things existed in England, 
there was sure to be a similar set of phenomena in 
Amsterdam, which I have said was the principal 
exchange of the world. 

Far back in the Middle Ages, Venice had esta- 
blished a bank, which should receive the coins of all 
nations, and give warrants to those persons who 
deposited such coins, which warrants should circulate 
from hand to hand, just as bank notes do now. 
Three centuries after the Bank of Venice was 
founded, a similar institution was established at 
Genoa, on a somewhat similar basis. In 1609, the 
year of the truce, the Bank of Amsterdam was 
founded, and before the end of the century was 
known to have metallic deposits with it to the 
amount of $180,000,000, a treasure more prodigious 
than any European financier at that time thought 
could be possibly accumulated. The notes issued 
by the Bank were supposed to be, and in tneory were 
exactly equal in amount to the specie or metallic 
money deposited in the strong room of the Bank. 
But the notes of the Bank always bore a premium, 
due to the convenience of the absolutely guarded 
security which the holder of the note possessed. 
Then the Bank charged a small sum on every ac- 
count which was opened with it, a small sum for 
negotiating bills and transferring balances, besides 
the profit which they derived from their own sub- 
scribed capital and their customers' money at call. 


The Bank was under the management of the 
Amsterdam corporation, the chiefs of which examined 
the treasure annually and made oath that it was 
of the full amount at which the managers of the Bank 
affirmed it to be. It was seen that the well-being 
of this great commercial centre was so much the 
interest of the Amsterdam municipality, that they 
could be more safely trusted with the control of the 
institution than any State official could be. When 
nearly a century afterwards, the project of starting 
a great central Bank in England was entertained, it 
was thought for a long time that the system under 
which the Bank of Amsterdam was managed should 
be the model of a Bank to be established in London. 
In the end, and fortunately so, other counsels pre- 
vailed, for in the seventeenth century London had 
not been so completely educated in the principles 
of commercial honour as to make the Amsterdam 
experiment a safe or convenient model for English 
practice. It is remarkable that not a few of the 
first directors of the Bank of England were Flemish 
settlers in London, who, driven out for their religion, 
brought over with them the intelligence, sagacity, 
and integrity of Netherland finance. 

The reputation of the Bank of Amsterdam re- 
ceived a remarkable confirmation in 1672. In this 
year Louis XIV., having secured by heavy bribes 
the complicity and assistance of Charles II. of 
England, declared sudden war on the Dutch. It 
was perhaps the most infamous war ever waged, 
the most unprovoked, and the most unexpected. The 
King of France was at this time at the height of his 


power. The King of England had been in what was 
supposed to be firm alliance with Holland, whose Stadt- 
holder, afterwards William III. of England, was his 
nephew. The administration of Holland was in the 
hands of the brothers De Witt, who were supposed to 
have been wilfully negligent of affairs when the war 
broke out. The Dutch were panic-struck at the 
calamity which came on them, and the political 
enemies of the De Witts goaded the populace on 
into murdering the two statesmen, a crime to which 
it is to be feared William was privy, and by which he 
certainly profited. The Dutch saved themselves from 
permanent ruin by a prodigious self-inflicted calamity. 
They cut the dykes, laid the country under water, 
and baffled the invader. They punished Charles 
or rather his people for the king's perfidy. Now, in 
this crisis there was a run on the Bank of Amster- 
dam. But the city magistrate took the alarmed 
depositors into the treasury of the Bank, and showed 
them its store untouched. Among the pieces of 
money which lay there were masses of coin which 
had been scorched and half melted in the great fire 
which many years before had occurred in the Stadt- 
house. The panic was allayed, the merchants were 
satisfied, and the reputation of the Bank became 
higher than ever. 

But when the French overran Holland in the early 
days of the great Continental war, all the treasure 
was gone. The government of Amsterdam had 
lent it, despite the fundamental principle of the 
Bank, to the Dutch East India Company, as was 
rumoured v i 




The Dutch had waged war for forty years in defence 
of their political and religious liberties. They refused 
to allow themselves to be taxed without their own 
consent, or to submit to being persecuted into a 
religion which they did not choose to accept. But it 
is unfortunately the case, that men who suffer much 
for their own liberty of conscience, constantly refuse 
to concede to others what they themselves have con- 
tended for. This was particularly the case in the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The followers 
of Calvin hated and persecuted the followers of Luther, 
and often more heartily and more cruelly than they 
did their old enemies of the Roman Church. The 
Puritans of Massachusetts, in the early days cf their 
history, treated the sectaries among themselves as 
harshly as they had been treated before they fled 
from their persecutors. The fact is, these people not 
only thought that they were entirely in the right, but 
Ihey were convinced that every one who differed from 




them in doctrine or discipline must infallibly bo in 
the wrong. Then by a process which they borrowed 
from the laws which regulate civil life, they considered 
that those who dissented from or even doubted their 
opinions were traitors, who must needs, in the interests 
of public duty and public safety, be severely punished. 
So, in England, the Episcopal party persecuted the 
Presbyterian party. In time the latter got the upper 
hand, and persecuted their old foes. In due course, 
the Episcopalians again got hold of the government 
and avenged themselves on the Dissenters. Now 
Holland had to go through fifteen years of this kind 
of shameful struggle, during which theological bitter- 
ness dishonoured the Republic. 

The enemies of Holland, when they granted the 
truce, counted upon the likelihood that political and 
religious faction would so tear to pieces the country 
which had fought so gallantly for victory that in a 
short time they would, from sheer weariness at anarchy, 
welcome back their old lords, and they who were 
greedy after the inheritance, or at least wanted to ap- 
propriate the commerce and wealth of Holland, were 
not disinclined to foment these differences. For the 
Kings of France never lost sight of what they hoped 
to make prize of, and the Kings of England were al- 
ways ready to encourage the mercantile classes in 
England in their envy and grudge at the rich Republic. 
So they stirred up strife between the house of Orange 
and the chiefs of the Dutch Commonwealth, and were 
not above meddling in the religious dissensions which 
now cropped up. James of England had a great 
opinion of his theological learning, and entered with 


alacrity into a controversy in which he was quite con- 
vinced that he was superior to all of his age. 

The Constitution of the United Netherlands was not 
a satisfactory one. To use an American expression, 
which exactly represents the situation, it was one in 
which the doctrine of State rights was carried to a 
length . which threatened to dissolve the union into 
fragments. The several States had each their ancient 
charters and privileges. They had united in order to 
assure these several rights by joint action. Even in 
the face of the enemy difficulties arose, but when peace 
came the difficulties were multiplied. In order that 
the central government, such as it was, should have 
authority, every State must give its assent, and in an 
important crisis, one of the little States would be very 
reluctant to give its assent ; and so common action 
was paralyzed. Had the Dutch States done as the 
American States did in the early days of the American 
Union, they would never have suffered from the con- 
spiracy which at last succeeded in changing the 
republic into a monarchy. 

Now Maurice was a considerable soldier and no 
contemptible diplomatist. But he was ambitious and 
avaricious. He would never have refused the sove- 
reignty which had been offered his father, and which, 
as he thought, was his hereditary right, because it had 
been proffered to his father and had been declined 
by him. He was constantly urged from without to 
assume a hereditary position. But he hesitated to do 
this against the will of the States, and preferred to see 
whether he could not so weaken the opposition to 
him. as to insure him practically the authority which 






he coveted. Now undoubtedly the chief opponents 
of Maurice in his theory of administration were 
Barneveldt, Grotius, and, speaking generally, the lead- 
ing men in the States-General. The strength of the 
Orange party was in the populace. The leader of what 
we may call the aristocratic party was Barneveldt. He 
had been of infinite service to his country, of infinite 
service to Maurice, for he had protected, educated, and 
counselled him. But Maurice was embittered against 
him, and was planning how he might supersede and 
destroy him. The death of Barneveldt on the scaffold of 
the Binnenhof was a judical murder of the very worst 
kind, contrived and carried out by Maurice, against his 
own benefactor and the benefactor of his country. 

The pretext in the first instance was a religious feud- 
The Dutch had adopted the Calvinist model of the 
Reformed faith, and had accepted in its crudest form 
the doctrine of predestination. But there arose a re- 
volt against this doctrine in the University of Leyden ; 
for universities in the Old "World have always been the 
nurseries of theological novelties, or, as the adherents 
of the old tenets call them, heresies. Now in 1602, a 
certain Jacob Arminius had been recommended to one 
of the theology chairs in the University of Leyden, 
and though at first his admission was opposed by the 
other theology professor, Gomarus, the latter yielded, 
and even advocated his admission. But in a very short 
time the teaching of Arminius again roused the sus- 
picion of Gomarus, and the controversy began, and 
soon passed from the university into the parish 
pulpits, where it rapidly became embittered, and was 
soon identified with political rancour. 


Arminius died in 1609, but the tenets which he held, 
or was reputed to hold, and the school which he 
founded, survived him. These sectaries got the name 
of Remonstrants, their opponents that of contra-Re- 
monstrants ; and the latter having got the upper hand, 
partly by the assistance which James of England gave 
them, and partly by the activity of the clergy, who 
stirred up the people against the Remonstrants, pro- 
ceeded to persecute their opponents, driving them out 
of the churches and banishing them from the country. 
But the doctrine spread ; the English king, who urged 
that the new heresy should be extirpated at the stake, 
himself inclined to it in the latter years of his reign, 
and the struggle between the episcopal clergy and the 
Puritans in England, which was one of the two causes 
of the great civil war, and the Commonwealth of 1 649, 
was embittered by the fact that the school of Laud had 
embraced the hated doctrine of Arminius. But after 
the Restoration in England, this school revived, "and 
finally developed into those tenets which were called 
Latitudinarian and sometimes Unitarian. 

It is always distasteful to an historian to linger on 
the floor of theological controversy, but in the history 
of the human race, or of any part of it, it is impossible 
to interpret or comprehend the course of events, unless 
one takes into account all those forces which influence 
society. Now, from the beginning of the sixteenth 
century, when Luther threw down the gauntlet to 
Rome, to the middle of the seventeenth, when both 
parties, entirely exhausted, agreed to a peace in the 
treaty of Westphalia, there was not a single public 
question which had not a theological side to it. If 


men fought for political freedom, they encouraged 
themselves in the struggle with religious motives, and 
strove to sanctify their claims to secular rights, by 
insisting that these rights were derived from the right- 
ful interpretation of the Bible. From the beginning 
the Reformation divided itself into two streams. 
Luther guided the one from Saxony, Calvin the othei 
from Geneva. But the former invested the King with 
the powers which he took away from the Pope, and 
the tenet of the Divine right of kings, and with it the 
other right which a king claimed of dictating what 
the subject's religion should be, became almost a 
religious dogma. Public liberty therefore made but 
little progress in those countries which adopted the 
Lutheran confession, and the tenets of Augsburg 
have been embraced by only a small, and that the 
northern section of the Teutonic race. But the other, 
a different, and rapidly a hostile creed, early enlisted 
itself on the side of political liberty and resistance to 
arbitrary power. Calvinism was the creed of the 
French Huguenots, of the Swiss Protestants, of the 
Dutch patriots, of the Scottish people, of the English 
Puritans, and of the settlers in New England. These 
races are the pioneers of political liberty. They 
studied the Old Testament carefully, and found it very 
invigorating. And in Holland, believing that they 
owed much, aye, everything, to predestination, they 
looked upon any who disputed this cardinal doctrine 
as leagued with the foes of their liberty, or ready to 
league with them. Nor, as time went on, did this convic- 
tion diminish, for it was soon seen that the disciples of 
Arminius ranged themselves on the side of absolutism. 


The municipal party at Amsterdam and other large 
Dutch towns, without committing themselves to the 
new doctrines, were sincerely desirous of peace. It 
was certain to increase the difficulties of government 
if, after they had rest on their borders, they should have 
strife in every town, almost in every family. Hence 
the States of Holland issued an ordinance, under the 
title a "Resolution for the Peace of the Church," which 
was drawn up by Grotius and intended to strike a 
balance between the disputants, and sought to silence 
some of the most furious partisans, and invited 
Maurice to support the decision of the civil govern- 
ment by his authority. Now Maurice, it is known, 
had long determined to make his power larger and 
more permanent; he saw that the party which Barne- 
veldt led or influenced was the great obstacle to his 
achieving his designs, and there seems no doubt that 
in 161.6 he had indeed to effect his success, by getting 
rid of his rival. In this year, by a great stroke of 
diplomacy, Barneveldt induced the English king, to 
whom the Dutch were admitted to be still in debt to 
the amount of £600,000, to accept a present payment 
of ,£250,000, and to surrender the three cautionary 
towns, Brill, Flushing, and Rammekens, which had 
been held as security for the English debt since the days 
of Elizabeth, to the Dutch Government. James was 
ridiculed all over Europe for his improvident bargain, 
and returned the contempt which he encountered by 
hatred towards the Dutch statesman. 

The next step taken was the creation of a small 
body of troops under the control or in the pay of the 
municipal authorities, who should repress the out- 


rages which these furious partisans were constantly 
committing. This gave Maurice the opportunity 
which he desired. He argued that this measure of 
precaution was a revolt against the authority which 
had been entrusted to him as commander-in-chief of 
the Dutch forces, and therefore responsible for the 
peace. Acting on his own authority, and making an 
entirely new departure in what had been the customary 
and constitutional procedure of the States, he re- 
modelled the municipalities, disbanded the guards 
which the municipalities had elected, openly joined 
the party of violence, and arrested Barneveldt, Grotius, 
and others. As Maurice had remodelled the repre- 
sentatives of the States-General, he was able to make 
it appear that the arrest and the trial of the aged 
statesman was the act of legal and constituted authori- 
ties. Maurice, after establishing his partisans in all 
the Dutch towns, summoned a synod at Dort, or 
Dordrecht, in order to secure the countenance of re- 
ligion for the purposes which he meditated. The 
synod had 180 sittings, cost the State a million 
guilders, and set forth a confession of faith, which was 
long held by the Calvinistic party as of supreme 

Meanwhile, Barneveldt was in prison, and subjected 
to many affronts and injuries. The Court which tried 
him was an illegal one, and the illustrious prisoner 
was treated with the greatest unfairness by his judges. 
One of those who was impeached with him was so 
terrified by the threat of torture, that he committed 
suicide in prison. 

Barneveldt was found guilty and sentenced to death. 


The charges against him were frivolous, had they 
been true, and were mostly false. But Maurice and 
his associates were resolved on the judicial murder of 
the great statesman, though they pretended that had 
Barneveldt acknowledged his guilt they would have 
commuted his sentence. He was beheaded in the 
square of the Binnenhof at the Hague on May 13, 
1619. In all the history of political faction, sullied as it 
has been by a thousand crimes, none is more infamous 
than the murder of this great man. If justice were 
done to his memory, his statue should be erected on 
the spot where he was so shamefully executed. Sixty- 
three years afterwards, two other great Dutch states- 
men were murdered by an infuriated rabble, instigated 
by the interests, perhaps with the connivance, of the 
same family which, after having, in the person of 
William the Silent, done so much for Holland, did, in 
the person of his descendants, ultimately effect its 

Barneveldt was the only victim of this counter 
revolution. The frightened suicide was hanged on 
a gallows, and the others who had been condemned 
on the charge for which Barneveldt suffered were 
finally sentenced to imprisonment for life. It is pro- 
bable that Maurice did not like to encounter the uni- 
versal reprobation which all Europe would have uttered 
had he shed the blood .of Grotius, who was not only 
renowned for his bravery, but had employed his pen 
effectively on behalf of his country's commercial 
liberties. Grotius continued his literary labours in 
prison, and after two years, by means of an ingenious 
stratagem devised and carried out by his wife, he 




succeeded in escaping, packed up in a chest which pur- 
ported to contain books on the Arminian side of the 
controversy. Grotius got safely to Antwerp and thence 
to Paris. He attempted to return to and reside in 
Rotterdam in 163 1, but the States were implacable 
and he left for Hamburg, and afterwards went to 
Sweden. He died in 1645. 

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The twelve years' truce expired in August, 162 1, 
and hostilities recommenced. There was, however, 
another war of far greater significance going on, to 
which the Dutch war was only an episode. No war 
ever waged had more lasting results than the so-called 
Thirty Years' War, which began with the revolt of 
Bohemia, and was concluded by what is variously 
called the Treaty of Westphalia and the Peace of 
Munster. The Treaty of Westphalia was held to 
have established the balance of power in PLurope, and 
was always appealed to afterwards when war took 
place and disputes were settled. 

Wars, as the Greek philosopher said, are set in 
motion by trivial causes, but owe their existence to 
great causes. The trivial causes of the Thirty Years' 
War were the succession to the duchies of Cleves and 
Juliers, and the revolt of Bohemia from the Austrian 
succession. The real or great causes were, the hos- 
tility of Catholic and Protestant, the determination of 


the Emperor to make himself the real master of Ger- 
many, and the determination of the French Govern- 
ment so to weaken the German Empire that Flanders 
and the frontier of the Rhine might eventually fall 
into its hands. This has been the policy of France 
for centuries, and it was its policy in 1870. In 16 10 
just before he was assassinated, Henry IV. of France 
had resolved to humiliate the house of Austria. His 
son's minister never forgot that object. 

The mad Duke of Cleves and Juliers, a district 
situated on the border of Holland, died in 1609, and 
the succession fell to two of his nieces, the Countesses 
of Brandenburg and Neuburg. The Dutch interfered 
to prevent the duchies from being confiscated by the 
Emperor, and put the two countesses in possession as 
tenants in common. But from interested motives the 
latter of these in 1614 became a Roman Catholic, and 
hoped to enlist the Emperor and the Duke of Bavaria, 
who afterwards got possession of the Palatinate on her 
side. Shortly afterwards the Evangelical Union and 
the Catholic League came to blows over the election 
of the head of the former association to the crown of 
Bohemia, on the death of the Emperor Matthias. It 
was the old story, the determination of the Catholics 
to root out the Protestants, and of the Protestants to 
defend themselves. 

The Dutch were unwilling to break the truce, and 
the Lutheran princes' were indisposed to assist the 
Elector Palatine. But the Catholic princes were active 
enough. The Elector was stripped of his hereditary 
dominions, and very speedily, at the battle of the 
White Mountain, was constrained to relinquish Bo- 


hernia. But I am only indirectly concerned with the 
horrible Thirty Years' War, which was continued for 
interested motives, and threw Germany back for two 
centuries. In 1621, the twelve years' truce being ex- 
pired, the King of Spain and the Archdukes offered to 
renew it, on the condition that the States would 
acknowledge their ancient sovereigns, one of whom, 
the Archduke Albert, died this year. Even if the 
States had been inclined to negotiate, the will of 
Maurice was in the ascendant, and the war was re- 
newed. The Dutch, it is true, were now entirely 
insulated. James of England was making overtures 
to Spain, and being cajoled. France, who had wished 
to save Barneveldt, was unfriendly in consequence of 
the manner in which her intercession had been treated. 
The Dutch party which was opposed to Maurice was 
exasperated, and the great counsellor was no more 
there to advise his country in its emergencies. The 
safety of Holland lay in the fact that the wars of 
religion were being waged on a wider and more distant 
field, for a larger stake, and with larger armies. Not 
content with murdering Barneveldt, Maurice took care 
to ruin his family. But at last, and just before his 
death in 1625, Maurice, in the bitterness of disappoint- 
ment, said, "As long as the old rascal was alive, we 
had counsels and money ; now we can find neither one 
nor the' other." Maurice had irreconcilably injured 
those who alone could supply him with both. The 
memory of Barneveldt was avenged, even though his 
reputation has not been rehabilitated. 

Frederic Henry, half-brother of Maurice, was at 
once made Captain and Admiral-General of the 


States, and soon after Stadtholder. \n military 
capacity, Frederic was reputed to be his brother's 
equal, and in all that was required for civil administra- 
tion to be his superior. The new Stadtholder was 
much more disposed to subordinate his ambition to 
the constitution than his predecessor was, and apart 
from the fact that he rather inclined to the Arminian 
or Remonstrant party, he was not the man who would 
lend the powers of government to a theological 
wrangle. Besides, in a free constitution, it is a difficult 
thing to perpetuate a polemical war. Unless an 
attempt is made to identify a religious opinion with a 
political one, as, for example, happened for a century 
and a half in Scotland, the fires of controversy are 
soon exhausted. In Holland the two sects were 
equally devoted to the good of their country, equally 
resolute in defending it against the common foe, 
equally resolved to maintain the liberties which they 
had won after a forty years' war. The house of 
Orange, too, in the person of its existing head, was 
counselling moderation, and very speedily the con- 
troversy which had threatened to tear Holland asunder 
was silenced by mutual consent, except in synods and 
presbyteries. In a few years, Holland became, as far 
as the government was concerned, the most tolerant 
country in the world, the asylum of those whom 
bigotry hunted from their native land. Hence it 
became the favourite abode of those wealthy and 
enterprising Jews, who greatly increased its wealth by 
aiding its external and internal commerce. 

The military activity of Frederic Henry was assisted 
by the growing weakness of Spain, and by the diversion 




of the wars of religion into a wider field. But it was 
especially on sea that the Hollanders were triumphant. 
In 1628 they captured the entire silver fleet of the 
Spaniards, on the punctual arrival of which all Spanish 
finance depended, and in the next year, almost annihi- 
lated the pirates of Dunkirk. And though the diffe- 
rences between England and the States on the one 
hand, and France on the other, led the Spanish party 
to offer another truce, the Dutch were disinclined to 
forego the advantages which, in their opinion, they 
were obtaining and consolidating by the continuance 
of hostilities, for every year made the Dutch East 
India Company more powerful, its trade more lucrative, 
and its influence more secure. 

It was not, however, in the Eastern seas only that 
the maritime power of the Dutch was conspicuous. 
They began to attack Spain and Portugal in the 
New World, and to establish forts and factories on the 
eastern coast of North and South America, from the 
Hudson to the La Plata rivers. The Dutch West 
India Company was as energetic and successful as 
the East India, though its trade was not so important, 
and its conquests not so durable. Meanwhile the 
military abilities, the constitutional policy, and the 
generally wise administration of the Stadtholder, 
induced the States, in a fit of unthinking gratitude, 
to make the office which he held hereditary, for they 
gave the reversion or succession of his office to his 
son William, then only five years old. This was the 
beginning of that discord between the States and 
their chief magistrate, which, more than anything 
else caused the downfall of Holland. 


The victories of Gustavus Adolphus materially 
strengthened the Dutch, and enabled them not only 
to protect their own frontier, but to enlarge it at the 
expense of the Archduchess, who died in 1633, when 
the Netherlands reverted to the Spanish monarchy. 
Under these circumstances, the States entered into 
still closer relations with France. Richelieu, the 
minister of the French king, wished to continue the 
war with the double object of weakening the house 
of Austria in Germany, and after expelling the 
Spanish from the Netherlands, of securing a para- 
mount influence in that part of the Low Countries. 
Hence, though reluctantly, the States agreed to make 
no peace or truce except in concert with France ; and 
stipulated for the partition of the Spanish Nether- 
lands whenever the conquest was effected, unless 
these provinces should achieve their own inde- 
pendence, when the States and France were to protect 
them. It is probable that the Dutch foresaw that 
this compact, so dangerous to them, would never be 
carried out. It is certain that it rather hindered 
than promoted the accord between France and 

It was in the year 1637, that the extraordinary 
mania for speculating in tulip roots, took possession 
of the Dutch. Millions of guilders were staked on 
these roots, and large fortunes were made and lost in 
the traffic. It is, of course, nothing strange in the 
history of commerce that wild speculations, which, 
in ordinary times would have had no chance of 
existence, have overturned the reason and bewildered 
the judgment of the most sober traders. The Eng- 


lish had their South Sea Bubble ; the French their 
Mississippi Scheme. But the curious thing in the 
Dutch tulip mania is that it sprang out of that 
passion for horticulture in which the Dutch were 
pre-eminent, and from which they conferred lasting 
benefits on civilization, and that it occurred at a time 
when Holland was engaged in a peculiarly costly war, 
when the country was under the delusion that public 
wealth could be secured by foreign conquests, and 
when, though some men grew rich, the general burden 
of taxation was almost intolerable. If one searches 
through history, one can never find a single case in 
which public opulence can be traced to foreign con- 
quest, in which the cost to the public of occupying and 
maintaining such conquests has not been greatly in 
excess of all the profit which private interests have 
secured from them. This is clearly discernible in 
the conquests of Spain, France, and even England. 
The trading companies of the Dutch effected the 
financial ruin of Holland. 

In 1639, another Spanish fleet was annihilated by 
Tromp in a naval battle off the English Downs. 
The place of combat was off the English coast, and 
Charles would have resented it, if he could, or if the 
relations in which he stood to his people had per- 
mitted it. After this victory the States assumed the 
title of High Mightinesses, or high and mighty lords. 
This apparent departure from Republican simplicity 
was, in the opinion of the States, essential, in order 
that they might take their proper place among 
European Powers. Perhaps in no time has the 
assumption or bestowal of pompous titles been more 



conspicuous or ludicrous than at present, when the 
princes of half-savage states are decorated with the 
titles of Majesty. But in the seventeenth century 
these absurd distinctions had a meaning, as the Dutch 
discerned at the time when they were negotiating the 
truce of 1609. 

In 1641, the son of the Stadtholder was married to 
the eldest daughter of Charles L, the first occasion 
on which any of the house of Orange had formed an 
alliance with the reigning families of Europe. The 
English king was reconciled to the marriage, because 
he thought that he would be able to secure a powerful 
ally against the Scotch malcontents, who were at 
that time the only open enemies of the Government. 
This marriage was the beginning of great misfortunes 
to the Dutch, and Holland eventually suffered nearly 
as seriously by matrimonial alliances with the 
Stewart and Hanoverian kings, as the old Nether- 
lands had by the marriages of the houses of Burgundy 
and Austria. In the same year, Spain was further 
enfeebled by the revolt of Portugal, under John of 
Braganza, and the reconciliation of Holland with the 
rulers of that part of the empire of Philip II. Spain 
could not, since Portugal reclaimed its possessions in 
the East Indies, pretend to exclude Holland from 
what was no longer, under any colour, theirs. 

It would be tedious and unprofitable to deal with 
the last events of the long war which came to an 
end with the peace of Munster. In this peace, the 
negotiations of which were exceedingly protracted, 
owing to the difficulty of reconciling the claims of 
conquest with the claims of original authority 


Holland gained all which it had demanded in 1609. 
The Spanish Government absolutely relinquished all 
claims and titles, and acknowledged the complete 
independence of the Dutch. They were allowed to 
remain the lords of all which they had acquired 
during the course of their protracted wars. The 
Scheldt was to be closed by the Dutch, and Antwerp 
to be ruined as a commercial city. Peace was pro- 
claimed on June 5, 1648, the day on which Horn and 
Egmont had been executed eighty years before. The 
Stadtholder had died on March 14, 1647, an< 3 his son 
William had succeeded him. 



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The rivalry of the English and Dutch East India 
Companies, and the consequent collision of trade 
interests in the two countries, was early apparent. 
In order to obviate them, a treaty was drawn up 
between the two countries, by which the commerce 
of the companies was to be regulated. But at so 
great a distance, and with so slight a control over 
these powerful associations which the respective 
governments of England and Holland had created, 
conventions on paper were not likely to be of much 
validity. In 1624 came the news of what is called 
the massacre of Amboyna, an event of which the 
most discordant accounts were given by the rival 
companies. At this time it is impossible to extricate 
the truth from the mists of passion in which the 
transaction is involved. It is sufficient to say that 
the affair was appealed to as a reason for stimulating 
hatred between the two nations, a hatred which was 
not only provoked by real or fancied injuries, but 
constantly renewed by the unfortunate position in 


which Holland was placed by its relations to the 

The commercial theory of the Dutch, which rested 
on the principle of a rigid monopoly, which should 
not only secure a sole market to Dutch traders, but 
should extinguish the possibility of procuring produce 
from any place which was not under their control, 
was certain to excite hostility. It was as monstrous 
as the grant of Borgia. It pretended to a right that 
the demands of all civilized nations should be in- 
terpreted in the light of Dutch profits, that supply 
should be curtailed in order that these profits should 
be enhanced, the only limit to this restraint being the 
maximum price which their customers could afford 
to pay. Now the principal produce of the East, for 
which there was a constant demand, was spice ; 
pepper, cinnamon, mace, nutmegs, cloves. These, in 
the almost total absence of vegetables and modern 
condiments were the choicest flavours which men 
desired some centuries ago, and the Dutch tried to 
appropriate the whole supply. The English, who 
were at this time almost the only rivals of the Dutch 
in the East, for the Portuguese trade was well-nigh 
ruined, determined that they should not have this 
monopoly, and during the first half of the seventeenth 
century, the East India Company in England had 
been making considerable progress. The treaty of 
1619 was a well-meant endeavour to control these 

The attitude of the Dutch towards the Parliament, 
Cromwell and the army, was in the last degree 
irritating. The king's two sons, Charles and James* 


had escaped to Holland, where, indeed, at the com- 
mencement of the war, Henrietta, on pretence of 
bringing her daughter over, had been attempting to 
obtain supplies. At the Hague, Charles, openly 
countenanced by his brother-in-law, strove to induce 
the States to declare on the royal side, and to aid the 
Stewarts in those designs which the War of Inde- 
pendence was entered upon for the purpose of de- 
feating. It was only when the army proceeded to try 
and to sentence tae king that the States yielded, and 
then only to the extent of mediation. But all their 
efforts were in vain. The Dutch envoys urged the 
resentment of Europe, and Cromwell, who knew very 
well what the resentment of Europe meant, refused 
to yield. In a few years, the monarchs of Europe, 
vied in flattering the usurper, who had slain one of 
their order. The Dutch States, however, did not 
venture on addressing the younger Charles as king 
of Great Britain, as indeed no crowned head did 
except the degenerate and licentious queen of Sweden, 

The annoyance felt in the English Parliament at 
this interference and this sympathy with the exiled 
family was intensified by the murder of Isaac 
Dorislaus. Dorislaus was the son of a Dutch clergy- 
man, and in consideration of his learning had been 
attached to the teaching staff of Cambridge University 
or Gresham College} He had been parliamentary 
counsel at the king's trial, and most imprudently had 
been sent as envoy extraordinary to the States, with 
the object of bringing about a close alliance between 
the two Republics. The day after his arrival he was 


murdered at the Hague by some of the Royalist exiles, 
who were there in considerable numbers, under the 
protection of the Stadtholder and the Orange 
party. The murderers escaped with the connivance 
of the same faction. This outrage on the law of 
nations was a greater offence even at that time than 
the trial and execution of Charles. 

The Stadtholder now determined, like his uncle 
Maurice, to make himself absolute. His plan was to 
foment dissension between the State of Holland and 
the other six States, and his occasion, the determina- 
tion of the former state, which bore the heaviest share 
of the public expenditure, to reduce the army and 
curtail official salaries. As this was the diminution 
of William's income, he was discontented, and the 
mischievous woman he had married, true to the 
instincts of her race, urged him to strike for more 
power. He imprisoned members of the States- 
General without form of law, because they were, or he 
thought they were, unfriendly to his schemes, and 
then attempted to effect by surprise the military occu- 
pation of Amsterdam, in which he was foiled, for 
the Amsterdam burghers, on discovering his plot, 
threatened to cut the dykes. Fortunately he died at 
the age of twenty-four, 1650, to the infinite satisfaction 
of all but the Orange faction. Men gave thank-offer- 
ings in gratitude for his opportune death. His widow, 
a few days after his death, gave birth to a son, after- 
wards William III. of England. 

In this crisis, when there was no representative of 
William the Silent who could under any pretence take 
the lead, the fortunes of the Dutch Republic were 


managed by the State of Holland. For a time there 
was to be no Stadtholder, but the supreme authority 
over the civil and military administration was to reside 
in the States-General. In the conference which 
arranged for a time the form of Government, the 
illegal acts of the late Stadtholder were formally 
condemned, and the persons whom he had deposed or 
imprisoned re-admitted to their offices. 

After the constitution was settled came the war 
with the English Parliament, the most mischievous 
and wanton war ever waged. The causes of it are to be 
discovered in the insults or affronts put on the English 
envoys by the partisans of the house of Orange and 
the Royalist exiles, with the connivance it appears of 
the Government itself. The action of the mob at the 
Hague was avenged by the Navigation Act, which in- 
flicted a severe blow on Dutch shipping, the Dutch at 
this time being the carriers of Europe. But it seems 
that war might have been averted, and an alliance 
between the two Republics might have been effected, 
could the Dutch have been able, perhaps had they 
been willing, to enforce the banishment of the English 
exiles, and particularly the royal exiles, from Holland. 
As it was, the mere proposal to ally themselves in any 
way with the English Parliament was wholly distaste- 
ful to the Orange party. Their partisans insulted the 
English ambassadors, and made them, with the party 
which they influenced, entirely hostile to the Dutch. 

Still the Dutch war, into which it was said that 
Cromwell, despite his better judgment, was drawn by 
Vane and St. John, remains a scandal to the English 
Parliament. But it is difficult to say how the war was 



begun, though it would seem that the English were 
the aggressors. The contest was entirely on the 
sea. The Dutch admirals were Tromp, an ardent 
partisan of the Orange faction, and De Ruyter, while 
those of the English fleet were Blake and Monk. The 
struggle was continued with varying success, though 
the advantage had been on the side of the English. 
But with a larger trade, and a smaller territory, the 
Dutch losses were more serious than those of their 
rivals. It is said that the two years' war with Eng- 
land involved greater losses to the Dutch mer- 
chants than the whole of the war with Spain had. 
But if the Dutch were anxious for peace, the English 
were not unwilling. After long negotiations, peace 
was effected in 1654, and on terms which gave lasting 
offence to the Orange party, for Cromwell bound De 
Witt to prevent the succession of the young prince to 
the office of Stadtholder. 

The Dutch, in sheltering the English exiles with 
Charles Stewart at their head, had protected men at 
their own serious risk, in whom there was neither 
gratitude nor honour. It seems that there was hardly 
ever an English sovereign more callous, more selfish 
and more immoral than the restored Charles was. 
His restoration was welcomed in the most genuine 
and lively manner, on his return from Brussels to 
Breda, and he was honoured and entertained magnifi- 
cently. De Witt, wIiq had been, as he alleged, the 
unwilling instrument of his exile to Brussels, assured 
him of the attachment of Holland to him, and of their 
joy at his being replaced on the throne of his 
ancestors ; and Charles, on the other hand, avowed that 


for many and enduring reasons, he valued the friend- 
ship of the States-General at a higher rate than that 
of any European Power, or ail together. He assured 
them that he would maintain peace between them and 
his kingdom inviolate, and that none of his predecessors 
should equal him in the services he would render to 
the Republic. 

He then recommended to them the interests of his 
sister and nephew. They met his suggestion by agree- 
ing to take charge of his education, and by voting an 
allowance for the expenses of his household. They 
abrogated the Act by which he was excluded from 
the office of Stadtholder, and determined, it would 
seem, to gratify Charles in everything, alleged that this 
conclusion was carried by the importunity of the 
usurpers, and that now that the English republic was 
no more, they declared it void, as having ceased with 
that which gave effect to it. These concessions, per- 
haps expedient, and certainly warranted by the great 
services which William afterwards did his country, 
must have suggested to Charles that the Dutch 
would hereafter be very submissive to whatever he 
might please to enjoin on them. The Dutch, I imagine, 
were still smarting with the memories of what they 
had lost during the days of the Protector, and were 
willing to believe that better times were coming for 
them in the restoration of a prince, whom they had 
befriended and sheltered to their own serious loss. 

But all the while Charles was dissembling with them. 
He was absolutely selfish, and entirely indifferent to 
those of his own countrymen who had ruined them- 
selves on his behalf. He was less likely to care for the 


interests of those who, not being of his own race, had 
suffered on his account. And he had a keen memory 
for any slight or affront. Now in the days of his exile 
the Dutch had commented freely on his licentious and 
profligate habits, and even offended him by the con- 
trast which their homely and decorous life was to his 
own. In the same way, Charles never forgave the 
Scotch for the discipline under which they put him 
while he was in Scotland, and when he came to the 
throne, persecuted and harried the sons of those who 
had laid down their lives for him at Dunbar and 
Worcester fights. There were men in the States- 
General who distrusted him for all his protestations, 
and one of them, when the Hollanders were voting the 
funds for defraying his expenses, said in a true spirit 
of prophecy that the money had better be laid out in 
cannon and powder, and other munitions of war. 

In the year after the Restoration, Mary, the widow of 
William and mother of the young prince, died, when 
the boy was ten years old, making, by will, her 
brother Charles his guardian. The States were greatly 
alarmed at the risk that Charles might insist on the 
right thus conferred on him, and bring the boy up at 
the English court. But Charles had no mind for such 
liabilities, and though he pressed his nephew's claims 
in language which was very different from that which 
he had used at the Hague a year before, he spared the 
young Prince of Orange the irreparable injury of 
superintending his education, and of thereby making 
him totally unfit for all public or private duties what- 
soever. In one particular, however, he followed the 
policy of the Protector whose memory he insulted. 



He raked up every charge he could discover or the 
Commonwealth could discover against the Republic 
from the affair of Amboyna down to the latest 
grievance, and insisted that the English merchants 
should enter upon the monopoly which the Dutch 

When he married Catherine of Braganza, he de- 
manded that the Dutch should abstain from maintain- 
ing their transatlantic settlements in the dominions or 
reputed dominions of the King of Portugal, and 
assured them that he would make his kinsman's cause 
his own. The Dutch who had maintained, and who 
thought they could still maintain the possessions of 
their West India Company, appear to have been so 
far influenced by these threats as to make a peace 
with the King of Portugal, under which they resigned 
Brazil for a large present payment, and for a licence 
to trade freely at all the Portuguese possessions in the 
two Indies. 

They did everything to conciliate him. They handed 
over three of the late king's judges who had taken 
refuge at Amsterdam ; though they knew that they 
were foredoomed, and showed an alacrity in the grati- 
fication of his wishes which must have made him feel 
no little contempt for them. Ultimately a peace and 
even an alliance was negotiated, which seemed to pro- 
mise fairly for permanent friendship between the two 
peoples. The Dutch were indeed not a little alarmed 
at the French king insisting that they should ratify 
and guarantee the sale of Dunkirk, one of Cromwell's 
conquests, which Charles, to the infinite disgust of his 
people, had parted with to Louis, in consideration of a 


considerable sum of money, which was immediately- 
squandered, as the Prodigal devoured his living, for 
any acquisition of France in the Netherlands was 
a matter of anxiety to the Republic. Still they 
yielded on this point too, and Charles graciously 
relinquished to them the guardianship and educa- 
tion of the young Prince of Orange, a duty which, 
fortunately, it was never his intention to undertake. 
Could he indeed have seen into the future, he would 
have insisted on this as the most important right which 
he could substantiate, and the English, who envied 
and hated Holland, would have gladly acquiesced in 
educating young William in the interest of themselves 
and the Stewarts. 



Between 1650 and 1672, the affairs of Holland 
were practically managed by John de Witt. This 
able and accomplished statesman, whose work on 
" The Interest of Holland " is a very complete sum- 
mary of the political and mercantile condition of the 
Republic, was the son of Jacob de Witt, one of the 
members of the States of Holland, who had, in the 
last year of the Stadtholderate of William II., been 
arbitrarily and illegally imprisoned in Loevenstein, and 
only released on condition that they abdicated their 
offices. This outrage made a deep impression on the 
mind of the son, and was the reason why he was and 
remained hostile to the pretensions of the young 

Had it been possible to restrain the Orange party, 
De Witt would have obviated these occasions of 
difference and ultimately of wars, which were so 
disastrous to Holland, during the time of the English 
Commonwealth. It was he who negotiated the treaty 
of 1654, and acquiesced in the exclusion of the Prince 



of Orange from the office of Stadtholder, and the 
expulsion of the Stewarts from Holland. In all like- 
lihood he was no unwilling agent in deposing the 
house of Orange, for it is said that his father, old 
Jacob de Witt, was used, when he met him in the 
morning, to say, " Remember the prison of Loeven- 
stein." After the war was brought to an end, De 
Witt, though only twenty-eight years of age, was and 
remained practically Prime Minister of Holland, under 
the title of Pensionary. 

Still, as we have seen, De Witt was exceedingly 
complaisant to Charles before his restoration to the 
English throne, more so when it was finally effected, 
and even afterwards when Charles showed himself so 
captious and arrogant with the Dutch envoys. De 
Witt knew that Holland had now more to lose than 
gain by any conflict, and saw that if by any means 
short of a public humiliation he could keep on good 
terms with France and England, the losses which 
Holland had sustained could be easily repaired. His 
countrymen called him " the Wisdom of Holland." 

In order to conciliate the Orange party, De Witt 
induced the prince's grandmother to entrust his 
education to the States of Holland. The Princess 
Dowager agreed, and the youth's household, modelled 
on what De Witt thought was the public interest, was 
superintended by himself. That De Witt intended to 
give a bias to the Prince's character, which would 
make him prefer the interest of Holland to any other, 
is certain, and it is equally certain that the object was 
attained. No one, not even William the Silent, was 
more entirely devoted to his country than William 


III. "of Holland and afterwards of England was. No 
man divined the dangers which threatened the Re- 
public more clearly than William did, no one was 
more prompt in meeting them, and more confident, 
even under rebuffs, disappointments, and defeats. He 
conferred, beyond doubt, great benefits on two nations, 
and the one revered his memory, the other treated 
him with signal ingratitude/'for William was the 
worst used king who ever sat on the English throne. 

By the treaty of the Pyrenees, in 1659, Louis XIV. 
had renounced all claims to the throne of Spain 
through his wife, the king's eldest daughter. This 
had been effected at the King of Spain's instance. 
But in 1663 De Witt found out that the French king 
was by no means disposed to abide by his engage- 
ments, and that he meditated, whenever the occasion 
should arise, the occupation of the Spanish Nether- 
lands. The discovery was made when he proposed 
to Louis, that the proposed treaty of Partition of 
1635 should be carried into effect, in case the Nether- 
landers did not vindicate their own independence. 
All that Louis, however, would concede was that, in 
the event of the death of the Spanish king and 
his only male heir, he would recognize the inde- 
pendence of the Netherlands under a French protec- 
torate, which of course would be no independence at 
all. So early had Louis formed that plan, which he 
pertinaciously strove to effect during his life, and left 
as a tradition to his successors. So startled was De 
Witt at this discovery that he approached the Spanish 
ambassador, and proposed to him to form a treaty 
between the Republic and Spain on the basis of the 


Pacification of Ghent, in 1576. Louis discovered the 
negotiation, and concealing his anger, resolved to be 
revenged on the first convenient opportunity. De 
Witt must have recognized that Holland was running 
the risk, soon to be, the certainty, of a struggle which 
would be more perilous and more prolonged than the 
War of Independence was. 

Meanwhile, the relations between the States-General 
and the English Government were every day becom- 
ing more strained. Charles, who was on the point of 
sacrificing his wisest and most faithful counsellor, 
Lord Clarendon, by throwing on him the scandal of 
the sale of Dunkirk, was not likely to make any effort 
for the republic which had sheltered him and his 
adherents in the time of their greatest danger and 
penury, and had braved the wrath, and increased the 
anxiety of the great Protector by doing so. On the 
contrary, he strove to embitter public opinion in Eng- 
land against the Republic by stimulating the cupidity 
of the English East India Company, an association 
which was indeed prosperous, but was fast becoming 
one of the worst instruments of corruption in the 
country, by systematically bribing Parliament in the 
interests of its monopoly ; for while the Dutch were 
striving to secure a trade for themselves alone in that 
part of the world, the East India Company were, by 
virtue of their charter, excluding every Englishman 
but themselves from any commerce in the Indian 

Before Parliament had given shape to its ill-will, 
the Court began war by attacking the Dutch settle- 
ments in the Gulf of Mexico, and the eastern shore 



of North America. Shortly after the discovery of the 
Hudson River the Dutch had planted a colony on 
Manhattan Island, with the name of New Amsterdam. 
In 1664 the colony was attacked by the English 
admiral, Holmes. As the attack was unexpected, 
and the town was undefended, it was immediately 
surrendered and annexed to the British plantations. 
Its name was changed in compliment to the royal 
buccaneer who planned this expedition, and it became 
New York. 

Charles disavowed the acts 
of Holmes, and even impri- 
soned him, but made no re- 
stitution. He gave the Dutch 
envoy fair words which cost 
him nothing, and made vigo- 
rous preparations for war, 
which cost the English and 
Dutch a good deal. On the 
other hand, De Witt, who 
saw through the king's dupli- 
city, and had put a consider- 
able fleet under the command 
of De Ruyter, sent his ad- 
miral secret orders to pro- 
ceed at once to the coast of Guinea and retake the 
forts which the English had seized. De Ruyter was 
generally successful. Charles retaliated by seizing 
all the Dutch vessels which he could lay his hands on, 
and having obtained large grants from Parliament, by 
declaring war. The first battle of the war, that of 
Southwold Bay, was disastrous to the Dutch, and in 



the next year nothing of importance was done. In 
the great battle of 1666, the advantage was on the 
side of the Dutch ; and in 1667, De Ruyter burnt the 
English fleet in the Medway, and peace was soon 

Shortly after the peace was proclaimed, Charles, 
whose people began to discern what were the designs 
of the King of France in the Netherlands, despite his 
reluctance at giving any offence to Louis, sent Sir 
William Temple to the Hague, for the purpose of 
negotiating an alliance with Holland. De Witt un- 
willingly acceded to the proposal, for he foresaw that 
no reliance could be placed on Charles, that he 
would irreconciliably offend Louis, and that if re- 
course was had to arms, Holland alone would have to 
bear the brunt of the struggle. But he gave in, and 
induced the deputies of the States to acquiesce in his 
policy. The terms of the treaty allowed Louis to 
keep some of his Flemish conquests, but restrained 
him, under the risks of war with England and the 
States, from making further acquisitions. This treaty, 
as Sweden shortly after joined it, was the famous 
" Triple Alliance," which Temple always considered 
his greatest achievement. It formed the basis and 
model of those great alliances which, at a subsequent 
period, were entered into with the view of chastising 
the ambition of Louis. 

The terms of this treaty have been justly criticised. 
Spain had been despoiled, and England and Holland 
sanctioned the spoliation. It was a poor show of 
courage to condone a wrong, and to avow a deter- 
mination that the wrong should go no further. But 


England and Holland were in no condition to give 
effect to their resolve. The costs of the late war 
weighed heavily on both, and the distrust of the 
English towards the king and his administration was 
profound. Had it not been for the intense dread 
which the English had of the possible revival of a 
man and an army like that of Cromwell and the new 
model, it seems impossible to doubt that the English 
nation would have sent Charles and his brother " on 
their travels again " as the king used to call his exile. 
The strength of Charles' position was the hatred of 
the Commonwealth, the memory of which was still as 
keen as ever. So they tried a middle course ; in 
attempting to exclude James from the succession, 
failed, and were constrained finally to get rid of the 
reigning house. But the value of the Triple Alliance 
was not in its immediate effects. It was of force as a 

The Triple Alliance was hardly signed when Louis 
seduced Charles by bribes and a new mistress, into break- 
ing it. The temptation was strong. Charles was to 
be subsidized to such an extent as to be made inde- 
pendent of Parliament. He was to be enabled to 
restore Romanism in England, Scotland, and Ireland, 
and acquiesce in the conquest of the United Pro- 
vinces. The bribes and the mistress were conveyed 
to Charles by his sister, the Duchess of Orleans, the 
king's brother's wife^ On her return to France, she 
died speedily, not without suspicions of poison. 

De Witt was entirely deceived. He had informa- 
tion as to the designs of Louis and the despotism oi 
Charles, but he disbelieved his informants. He could 


not conceive it possible that the English king would 
acquiesce in such an aggrandisement of France as 
would result from the subjugation of the United Pro- 
vinces. He did not understand his man. The first 
thing which Charles thought of was the means of 
gratifying his appetites ; the second that of restoring 
the religion to which he secretly inclined, if indeed he 
had not already joined it ; the third was the re-estab- 
lishment of absolute government. He believed, and 
with some justice, that the odious memories of the 
Commonwealth could enable him to almost, if not 
quite, achieve the last object. In order to complete 
the deception, Charles assured the Dutch envoy that 
his mind was made up, and that he was firmly resolved 
to maintain the alliance. He had even deceived Temple 
by his assurances, though he was already bound to 
Louis by a secret treaty, and was receiving the 
reward of his perfidy. 

Meanwhile Louis had conquered Lorraine, and 
Charles had agreed to admit the Emperor of Germany 
into the alliance. Next he recalled Temple, and De 
Witt's eyes were opened. Had De Witt been served, 
as William the Silent had been served at the court of 
Philip the Second a century before, when all the 
secrets of the Escorial were duly forwarded to him, 
the Dutch would not have been hoodwinked. Had 
De Witt boldly faced the situation, and seeing that 
the reconciliation of the Dutch factions was the one 
thing necessary, had acquiesced without grudging in 
the elevation of William to the office of Stadtholder 
and Captain-General, he might have averted danger 
from himself and his country, have forced Charles to 

THE WAR OF l6j2. 269 

drop his bribes, and enlisted English sympathy on 
his side. But his hatred of the house of Orange and 
of William's father paralysed his judgment. Temple 
soon discovered on his return to England, what were 
the sentiments of the king and the cabal. Dis- 
appointed and disgusted at being made a tool and a 
dupe, Temple retired into private life. 

As De Witt was deceived in the character of Charles, 
so he was duped by Louis. The French king 
flattered him, and tried to bribe him, complimented 
him on his disinterestedness and integrity, and assured 
him of his continued goodwill. lie had affected to 
sympathise with his dislike and distrust of the house of 
Orange, and with his unwillingness to admit William 
into any share of the administration. Meanwhile 
Louis did his best to induce the German princes to 
be neutral. He succeeded with the emperor, and 
with the ecclesiastical states which lay on the Dutch 
border. He subsidised the disaffected Hungarians, 
with a view of effectually preventing the emperor 
from disregarding his engagement, and he succeeded 
in bribing the Swedes into a desertion of the Triple 
Alliance. He had thus bought or entrapped all 
possible enemies, and had effectually isolated the 
Dutch, who, alarmed at his preparations, and asking 
their import, were told that they would know 
next spring. Meanwhile Charles assured the Dutch 
envoy that he would prevent France from making 
war on them, and would assist them in case he found 
Louis disposed to be aggressive with his fleet. 

Just as war was seen to be inevitable, William of 
Orange was made Captain-General. No other course 


was possible. But De Witt contrived to load his 
commission with disagreeable and irritating condi- 
tions, and to limit its duration to a year. In addition 
to inexperience and want of military training, 
William was put over an army which had been 
disorganized by long abstention from military duties, 
and by the sloth and negligence of its officers- 
Louis declared war, without alleging any pretext 
beyond this, that it was not consistent with his 
glory to endure the conduct of the States any 
longer, and commenced the campaign with an army 
of 120,000 men. De Witt lost all courage and pro- 
posed to treat. But the terms which they offered 
were rejected by Louis, and Holland recovered the 
courage of despair. De Ruyter was more fortunate 
in his encounter with the English fleet. 

But soon the Orange mob at Amsterdam, after 
vainly endeavouring to assassinate the brothers De 
Witt, John and Cornelius, and having then striven 
to destroy them on a false accusation, attacked the 
prison in which they were, dragged them out and 
murdered them, near the spot where Barneveldt had 
been judicially slain. It is difficult to acquit the 
Prince of Orange of tacit compliance with the 
outrage. Besides, he gave a pension to the false 
accuser of the two statesmen. 



The De Witts were murdered in 1672, and the 
whole administration was forthwith transferred to the 
hands of the Prince of Orange. This was indeed 
inevitable. The party of the De Witts was paralysed 
by the outbreak, the people insisted on the elevation 
of the Prince of Orange to his ancestral dignities, and 
the condition of the Republic, menaced at once by two 
powerful enemies, Louis of France and Charles of Eng- 
land, required that the administration of affairs should 
be strengthened. It was fortunate for Holland, that, 
though the means by which the young Stadtholder 
was raised to his dignity are as indefensible as 
could be conceived, the resolution and patriotism of 
William were as conspicuous and as unyielding as 
those qualities were in the most distinguished of his 
race. He had not , indeed the military genius of 
Maurice his great uncle, or Frederic Henry his grand- 
father, but for unshaken fortitude and persistent love 
of his country, he was a counterpart of his great- 
grandfather, William the Silent, and he was, besides, 



with better opportunities perhaps, the shrewdest 
diplomatist which the house of Orange has ever 

William had been trained in habits of reserve and 
prudence. Since the premature death of his father and 
mother, his bringing up had been in the hands of 
those who were distinctly opposed to the pretensions 
of his family. For twenty years, the government had 
been an aristocratic republic, which had taken every 
possible means to weaken the influence of the Orange 
party. It was necessary for William to be cautious 
and reticent in the highest degree, to be wary and self- 
reliant, to study the characters of those who were 
opposed to his elevation, and to cautiously win the 
friendship of those whom he might hereafter trust 
and employ. In his youth he had been too openly 
friendly with Zulestein, and the jealousy of the exist- 
ing government removed this person, in whom he 
afterwards put absolute trust, from his company. 
William had indeed to learn the art of war, and to 
do the best he could in striving to secure his country's 
independence against the able generals who were 
trained in the armies of Louis. He was never their 
match in battle, but there was no ruler of Holland, 
who so rapidly minimized or retrieved defeat and loss. 

William instantly rose to the occasion, while his 
country was administered by the chief of the 
municipal aristocracy. William was ready to join 
them in suing for peace. But as soon as he became 
Stadtholder, though only twenty years of age, he 
encouraged the States to refuse the terms which Louis 
and Charles proposed, as discreditable and ruinous 



to resist to the last, to consider how great their 
resources still were, to seek for allies who would co- 
operate with them in thwarting French ambition, and 
rather than yield, in the last extremity to transfer 
themselves and their fortunes, to the Eastern 
Empire which they had founded. Louis and Charles, 
who had striven to secure for William the rank and 
position which he had now reached, found that he 
was resolute in maintaining the independence of 
that country, which they had hoped by his means 
to humilate or dismember. 

The Dutch had opened the dykes, and at great 
loss and sacrifice had effectually barred the progress 
of the French. William took the field at once, and 
though he was unable to achieve the purposes with 
which he commenced his campaign, he was able to 
show that his army was capable of active resist- 
ance to his powerful enemy. But even in the first 
winter, when the French troops tried to attack the 
Hague by marching over the ice, the success of 
the attempt was only frustrated by a sudden thaw. 
More than once the peculiar geographical position 
of Holland saved it from what appeared to be 
imminent destruction. 

Though as a general William was very moderately 
successful, he never lost the confidence of his country- 
men. They early appreciated his patriotism and 
sagacity, and constantly explained his failures by 
the fact that the boldness of his projects was in excess 
of his powers. Beyond this, several of the European 
Powers, though they had no great liking for the 
Dutch, were alarmed at the aggrandisement of 


France, and assisted Holland. This was the case 
with Spain, with Brandenburg (soon to be the 
kingdom of Prussia), and afterwards the Scandinavian 

The Dutch believed, and with some reason, that the 
accession of the English king's nephew to the highest 
office in the Republic, which Charles had always de- 
manded, would disarm English hostility. But Charles 
was in the pay of France, and was entirely incapable 
of gratitude or honour. It was necessary, however, 
for Charles to keep his parliament in good humour, 
they being utterly disinclined to the war, and to 
yield to them in a matter on which he was exceedingly 
reluctant, the political proscription of the Catholics, 
before he could get any pecuniary assistance from 
them. He was able to furnish a fleet, which in con- 
junction with that of France, seemed likely to be able 
to overwhelm the Dutch on sea. 

The Dutch, under the command of De Ruyter and 
Tromp, fought two naval battles with the combined 
English and French fleets, on June 7th and June 14 
1673, in which a slight advantage was on the side of 
Holland. On August 21st another battle equally 
undecisive was fought. But in more distant regions, 
and in privateering, which was the most powerful and 
common kind of naval warfare at the time, the Dutch 
were far more successful, little damage being done to 
their trade, and much loss being suffered by English 

Meanwhile the ambition of Louis was consolidating 
European enmity against France. The Kings of 
Sweden and Denmark espoused the cause of the 


Provinces. Spain made vigorous efforts on behalf of 
the Netherlands, and therefore on behalf of Holland, 
and even the Emperor of Germany entered into an 
alliance with the States. There can be no doubt 
that not a little of this jealousy of France was due to 
the diplomacy of William. Louis was compelled to 
abandon the conquests which he had made in the 
Provinces, though in doing so he inflicted as many 
insults and as much injury as he could on the people 
whose towns he temporarily occupied. The conse- 
quence was that the parts of Holland which had 
suffered most supplied the most ardent partizans for 
the future of the Stadtholder. 

The English Parliament was determined to put an 
end to the war with Holland, which Charles, in order 
to secure French bribes, was anxious to carry on- 
They refused to vote supplies unless the Dutch were 
obstinately set on war. The Dutch soon became 
aware of this feeling, and instantly took advantage of 
it, by approaching Parliament through the king. 
Despite the reluctance of Charles, Parliament, on 
learning the Dutch proposals, absolutely refused to 
make any further grants, addressed the king in favour 
of peace, and enforced their action by threatening his 
ministers with impeachment. Charles was forced to 
give way, and again employed Sir William Temple 
in negotiating a peace with Holland. A few days 
sufficed to complete the negotiations. It is not un- 
likely that the treachery of Charles and the hatred of 
James to the Dutch made this nation disposed to 
assist that expedition, which fourteen years later 
expelled the male Stewarts from the English throne. 


The evacuation of Holland by the French, and the 
alliance with Holland, compelled the two Bishops of 
Munster and Cologne, who had captured some towns 
in Holland, to sue for peace and restore their con- 

The Prince of Orange got all the credit of these 
indirect successes. The States made the office of 
Stadtholder hereditary in his descendants, invited him 
to contract a marriage, and made him handsome gifts 
of money, the Dutch East India Company settling a 
portion of their profits on him and his heirs. The 
prudence of the Prince was shown again in the reso- 
lute way in which he insisted that those parts of the 
United Provinces which had been occupied and 
evacuated by the French, should be restored to all 
their ancient privileges. This policy conciliated these 
restored States to the Prince, and they now vied with 
each other in conferring the largest powers on the 
Stadtholder. William took advantage, perhaps natu- 
rally, of this good feeling, and remodelled the consti- 
tution of the recovered States of Utrecht, Guelderland* 
and Overyssel in his own political interests, which 
were after all those of Holland. William became 
more absolute in these States than he was in any 
other part of the Republic. His policy in war and 
peace was alike beneficial. 

The French king ^saw that Charles was unable to 
prevent the peace which Temple negotiated, and he 
determined to avenge himself on Spain. Now at this 
time Spain still possessed the Netherlands and a 
frontier on the eastern side of France. These Louis 
attacked successfully. The Stadtholder, now Com- 


mander-in-chief of the Spanish contingent as well as 
of the Dutch troops, encountered Conde and the 
French forces at Seneff, where a desperate struggle 
took place, lasting from morning to midnight 
Though William was not victorious here, he was not 
defeated, and actually gained some of the advantages 
of victory by the capture of one or two important 

In 1675 attempts were made to bring about a peace, 
and Sir W. Temple was again sent to Holland to 
sound the Stadtholder and the States. It was on this 
occasion that a proposal was made to William to 
bring about a marriage between himself and Mary, 
the oldest daughter of the Duke of York. But 
William showed no inclination to close with the offer, 
and was not particularly anxious to put an end to the 

In point of fact the Prince had been offered by one 
of the States whose interests he had defended, the 
title of Duke of Guelderland, with the hereditary but 
limited sovereignty over that state. But the other 
provinces, though they had given the Stadtholder 
almost unlimited power, took alarm at the suggestion 
that he should in any part of the Republic step out of 
the position of the First Minister of Holland into 
that of a hereditary sovereign. It is true that they 
had made his rank and office hereditary, and had given 
him ample powers, but still as long as he was Stadt- 
holder only, what they had given they could revoke. 
If he became, however, a king or sovereign, his posi- 
tion and theirs would be totally altered, and in their 
eyes for the worse. 


William was astonished and annoyed at the almost 
universal resistance which the project met with, and 
in responding to some of the States, he could not 
conceal his irritation, while he thought it prudent to 
disclaim any intention of accepting the offer. But at 
the same time, as he saw how important he was to 
the States in time of war, this rebuff made him more 
than ever disinclined to peace. He saw that a 
Stadtholder, when the war was over would be a very 
different person from a commander-in-chief holding 
the strings of a European alliance, and he probably 
thought besides that the continuance of the war would 
weaken Louis and strengthen the allies. The war 
was therefore continued, despite the efforts and good 
offices of Temple. It was carried on with varied 
success, but, on the whole, to the advantage of France, 
which kept making conquests in the Netherlands, on 
the Spanish frontier, and even in Holland, though at 
great cost to itself. The French even fought on sea 
with the Dutch in the Mediterranean, a battle in which 
De Ruyter lost his life. There are few of the naval 
heroes of Holland whose patriotism it so lofty, and 
whose courage and conduct are so conspicuous as 
those of De Ruyter were. There is none whose deeds 
are more copiously commemorated in the historical 
picture galleries of Amsterdam. The death of De 
Ruyter,' ascribed to the insufficient fleet which he was 
bidden to command/diminished for a time the popu- 
larity of the Stadtholder. 

Events were now constraining all parties to desire 
peace, though for a time only Sweden and the 
Republic expressed their desire for it. The latter 


found its commerce slipping into the hands of the 
English. The Navigation Act had injured them not 
a little ; the continuance of the war, and the successes 
of the French privateers, had harmed them still 
more. At this time the English East India Company- 
was making rapid strides. The profits of its trade 
were very great ; the interests which it embraced 
were very numerous and very powerful, and large 
private fortunes were rapidly accumulated from the 
profits of its stock. Besides, the States were really 
bearing the greater part of the expenses of the war, 
for while the cost of their own armaments was great, 
they were subsidising the allies. The taxation of the 
Hollanders was enormous and oppressive, and nothing 
but the thrift and parsimony of the people enabled 
them to bear the load which was put on them. But 
William, like Maurice, was anxious to prolong the 
war. He insisted that the renewal of the Treaty of 
the Pyrenees should be made the first condition of 
peace, which meant that Louis should relinquish all 
his conquests. At last William was almost alone in 
his opinion. 

The King of France saw, as he thought, an oppor- 
tunity of breaking up the alliance by making peace 
severally with the combatants. He offered to the 
emperor the boundaries of the peace of Westphalia, 
to Holland the restoration of the only Dutch town 
which was now in his possession. He resolved, on 
the other hand, to enlarge his frontier at the expense 
of Spain, and to recover for Sweden, whose alliance 
he had purchased, all that she had lost in Northern 
Germany. The Prince of Orange, seeing his country- 


men bent on peace, felt constrained to go with them, 
but determined to make one more effort before he 
finally yielded. 

His anxiety was to induce the King of England 
to enter anew into that alliance with Holland which 
had been negotiated by Sir W. Temple after the 
first war with England. He therefore informed this 
minister that he was anxious now to effect that 
marriage with Mary, the daughter of the Duke of 
York, which he had declined so coldly a few years 
before, and with this view visited England. Charles 
wished the peace to precede the marriage, but William 
with some show of reason alleged, that such a line 
of action would make him suspected of postponing 
public considerations to his own private wishes. 
Danby, afterwards Duke of Leeds, persuaded Charles 
to give way, and the Stadtholder and Mary were 
married in 1677. She was the only respectable Stewart. 

In London, William and Charles discussed the 
terms on which peace should be granted, and Charles 
engaged himself to declare war against both France 
and Spain if the terms were not accepted. Louis, 
who it was thought, would reject these terms at once, 
knew the mind of the English king better than 
William did, and affected to treat on this basis, with 
the object of prolonging the negotiations. In 
England popular feeling against France rose so high, 
that Charles was forced to call his parliament together 
to accept a grant from them, and enlist an army. 

The Dutch determined, however, to accept such 
terms as, leaving a sufficient number of towns in the 
Spanish Netherlands, between the French conquests 


and their own frontier, and restoring to them all 
which they had lost, would put an end to the war 
Upon this basis a truce of six months was agreed to, 
which was afterwards prolonged. The Emperor, the 
Elector, and the King of Denmark, who had been 
carrying on the war at the expense of Holland, were 
indignant at the States for not allowing themselves to 
be ruined. After some appearance of activity on the 
part of Charles, the Dutch agreed to peace with 

The Stadtholder was exceedingly dissatisfied with 
what had occurred. He thought and thought cor- 
rectly, that if Charles had been firm, the peace of 
1678 might have been founded on the lines of the 
treaty of the Pyrenees, and the neutral territory 
between Holland and France have been extended to 
its old limits. He saw that the treaty of Nimeguen 
had left the French far stronger than they were before, 
and he predicted that another war would shortly be 
waged, in order to maintain what is called the balance 
of power in Europe. In his anger, even after the 
peace was signed, he attacked Luxemburg, the 
French general in his camp near Mons, and fought a 
battle there. But Louis, who had obtained all the 
solid advantages which he desired, took no offence at 
this breach of faith. William, however, cherished 
the utmost suspicion of the French monarch, and 
there can be no doubt that his dissatisfaction at the 
peace of Nimeguen led to those two long and costly 
wars which were so destructive, and which entirely 
humiliated the house of Bourbon. 




The period which intervened between the peace 
of Nimeguen and the next outbreak of war was one 
of continual anxiety and alarm. The peace had 
practically confirmed the French king in his acquisi- 
tions, and convinced him that he could quarrel safely 
with all Europe, and aggrandise himself at the 
expense of his neighbours. His resources were so 
considerable, the patience of his subjects was so 
enduring, and the discipline of his army so perfect, 
that he believed, as many other persons believed, that 
he had the destinies of Europe in his hands. Indeed, 
that Europe, however united, should be able to resist 
the domination of France, was believed to have 
become possible only through the astonishing errors 
in tactics which the pride and self-will of Louis led 
him to commit. The English king was a pensioner 
of France, and could be counted on as neutral, the 
Spanish monarchy was reduced to the extremity of 
weakness, the Germany emperor was engaged in 



incessant struggles with the Turks, and with his own 
revolted subjects in Hungary, and Louis was sup- 
posed to have been in league with both. 

In the early years of this uneasy peace, Louis 
strove to strengthen his frontier by building with all 
the appliances which science at that time possessed 
the strongest fortresses. But, on the other hand, he 
quarrelled with the Jansenists, a school which, while 
within the Roman Church, contained the most pious 
and learned men of that communion, and strove to 
extirpate the Huguenots. He gave himself up 
entirely to the advice of the Jesuits, but insulted, 
plundered, and irritated the Pope. He continued his 
attacks on the Spanish Netherlands, and captured 
city after city. He bombarded Genoa, simply because 
it had been on good terms with Spain, and constrained 
the Doge of that ancient city to sue for peace at 
Versailles, under insulting conditions. Every state 
in Europe was irritated and alarmed at his pretensions 
and his actions. 

Many of the French nobles and a large section of 
the French people had embraced the Reformation 
and had accepted the teaching and the discipline of 
Calvin, the form of religion which had been adopted 
in Holland. The Huguenots, as these sectaries were 
called,^ had formed the mainstay of Henry IV. 
Without their aid,/ their grandfather of the French 
king, the grand monarch, as his contemporaries called 
him, would never have worn the crown of France. 
They were, as a rule, loyal to the monarch of their 
choice, even after he had deserted the creed in 
which he had been brought up, and which he long 


professed. Henry saw, or thought he saw, no chance 
for his final victory, unless he was reconciled to the 
Roman Church. He suffered himself to be converted, 
foreseeing that he could thus win the MalcontentSj 
without seriously affronting his own friends. But he 
accorded the Huguenots toleration, by the famous 
Edict of Nantes, and allowed them to retain in their 
own hands certain fortresses, and even districts, 
colleges, and churches. 

It was the policy of Richelieu to consolidate the 
power of the French monarchy, to diminish the 
privileges and weaken the political independence of 
the French sectaries. In course of time, many of the 
nobles of the Huguenot party deserted the creed 
which their fathers maintained, and like the king 
whom they had fought for, reconciled themselves to 
the Church. But the great body of the sectaries 
remained faithful to their creed. They naturally 
dwelt in towns, and became the principal manufac- 
turers, artisans, and merchants of France. The 
Huguenots were the people whom the policy of 
Colbert had favoured, and their enterprise and wealth 
enabled them to establish in France those industries 
which were the mainstay of French trade, and the 
source of the king's revenue. These men possessed 
the largest part of that wealth which is the life of 
manufacturers and commerce. 

The Hollanders and the English had a profound 
interest in the fortunes of the Huguenots. It was 
a matter of common religious feeling, for some of 
French sectaries had been among the most famous 
and competent of the generals whom Louis employed* 


Now it was these persons whom Louis wished to drive 
into the Church of Rome by force, and after a time, 
when they refused compliance with his will, to drive 
from France. He quartered soldiers on them, and 
harried them by exactions, he destroyed their churches 
and schools, he bribed those he could into compliance 
with his wishes, and he punished with the greatest 
severity those who relapsed into their ancient creed. 
In time districts once almost entirely peopled by the 
reformed sectaries were coerced into conformity. 

Finally on October 2, 1686, he revoked, amid the 
applause of the Jesuits and the congratulations of the 
Court bishops, the famous Edict of Nantes. Then 
came a gigantic emigration of the wealthiest, the most 
industrious, and the most vigorous of the French 
people. The emigration of the Huguenots was nearly 
as disastrous to France as the expulsion of Moriscoes 
in the beginning of the century had been to Spain. 
The manufacturers came in great numbers to England 
and Holland, where they were heartily welcomed, 
bringing with them those arts of which France had 
previously a monopoly. The subscriptions collected 
in the English churches on behalf of these refugees 
were exceedingly large, and mightily vexed Louis 
and James, who had now succeeded Charles. Men 
who had^grown grey in the military and naval service 
of the French king now joined the armies of his most 
implacable enemies, and did eminent service in the 
struggle which now became imminent. Such men 
were Marshal Schomberg and Ruvigny. Thousands of 
trained soldiers and skilful seamen left the country 
which persecuted them and transferred their services to 
those who welcomed them. 


But not only did Louis weaken himself and lessen 
the resources of his kingdom by the persecution of the 
Huguenots, but his pride and violence was raising 
enemies against him on all sides. He put forward 
claims to the Palatinate, he forced one of his creatures 
on the Pope, and strove to make him Bishop of Cologne ; 
he even entered into a personal quarrel with Innocent 
XL, and made him incline to the alliance which was 
gradually forming against France. The occasion of 
this quarrel is curious and instructive. In all civilized 
countries the person and the domicile of an ambas- 
sador are inviolable. It is obvious that it would be im- 
possible for an envoy to perform his functions, unless 
as long as he resides in a country which is still friendly, 
he has complete power over his own actions. When 
countries go to war, the system is suspended. The 
ambassador is withdrawn. Now every one of the 
Catholic Powers had an envoy at Rome. There had 
grown up a custom among these personages of insist- 
ing on the privilege of their office being extended to 
all persons whom they might employ and even har- 
bour, and as many of these envoys at the Papal court 
thought proper to surround themselves with a large 
retinue and sometimes large bodies of troops, the quar- 
ters in which they resided became an asylum to all the 
bad characters in Rome. Murders and robberies were 
committed and the perpetrators shielded from the 
consequence of their acts. Smugglers took up their 
abode in these sanctuaries, and the papal revenue was 
seriously compromised by contraband trade. Innocent 
was determined to put a stop to the scandal, and 
found it not difficult to induce the Catholic Powers 


to restrain within reasonable limits the licence which 
had been customary. But Louis insisted on con- 
tinuing the obnoxious system in the person of his 
ambassador, and sent an envoy with a small army to 
Rome, whom the Pope refused to admit to an 
audience. In revenge for this Louis overran the 
territory of Avignon, and united it to his dominions. 

From the peace of Nimeguen onwards, William of 
Orange had striven to procure a confederation of the 
European Powers, ostensibly to secure and maintain 
the provisions of the peace, but really as a counter- 
poise against the menacing ambition of France. But 
the principal ally whom he hoped to secure was his 
uncle, Charles of England, and he seems to have been 
unacquainted with the secret engagements which that 
utterly unprincipled sovereign had made with the 
French king. The States of Holland, however, entirely 
distrusted Charles, and feared to provoke Louis, who, 
as it appears that they believed, might be anxious to 
remain on good terms with the Republic. They were 
merely anxious to maintain the peace. 

The action of Louis himself soon disabused the 
Dutch of their confidence. Louis insisted on securing 
some towns of the Spanish Netherlands which had 
been expressly restored at the peace, he attacked 
Luxemburg, he occupied Alsace, he got possession 
of Strasbiirg, and fortified it for himself. On these 
acts came the persecution and expulsion of the 
Huguenots, and Louis succeeded in alienating from 
himself those states and cities of Holland which 
had been hitherto anxious to maintain a good under- 
standing with him. Under these circumstances 



William found that the efforts which he was making 
to secure the formation of a league against France 
were more likely to be successful. He contrived to 
induce the King of Sweden to enter into the alliance, 
and he used every effort to induce Charles of Eng- 
land to take the same step. But Charles refused, and 
William induced the Emperor of Spain and some of 
the German princes to join in the alliance. William 
hoped that at last he should be able soon to enter into 
a fresh struggle with France, but the obstinate refusal 
of the city of Amsterdam to back up his policy foiled 
him. He succeeded, however, in inducing the States 
to strengthen their navy, and to keep an effective 

In February, 1685, Charles of England died and 
his brother James, the father-in-law of William, suc- 
ceeded. James put on a show of vigour, declared that 
he would maintain the European balance, and though 
he was not above receiving the French king's money, 
exhibited more sense of personal dignity and national 
feeling than Charles did. He even affronted Louis, 
and by doing so prepared his own ruin. Mean- 
while William kept on good terms with his father-in- 
law, whose succession he had good reason to expect, 
and sent away Monmouth from the Provinces. It is 
alleged by some that he was privy to Monmouth's 
invasion. Certainly he must have been as dissatisfied 
with the assumption of the royal title by that 
adventurer as James was. He not only disavowed it, 
but sent six regiments in the Dutch service to 
co-operate with James against the rebels. Meanwhile 
William had at last contrived to establish an agree- 


ment between those who were alarmed at the progress 
of France under the name of the league of Augsburg. 

It is not easy to see when the scheme first took 
shape of dispossessing James from the English throne. 
Burnet, afterwards Bishop of Salisbury, had quitted 
England, now no safe place for him, and was soon as 
deeply in William's counsels as any man ever was. 
On the other hand, William sent one of his most 
trusted adherents, Dykvelt, over to London in order 
that he might enter into an understanding with the 
English nobles, disabuse them of any impression which 
they might have as to his sympathy with his father- 
in-law's theories of government, and at the same time 
to assure James of the good will of the States. There 
is little doubt that Dykvelt was trusted by the English 
malcontents, who had by this time thoroughly mis- 
trusted James, and were gradually forming those plans 
which eventuated in the English Revolution. At last 
William ventured on publishing and circulating his 
opinions about what James was bent on, the repeal of 
the Test Act, and the indulgence to Protestant 
Dissenters. The publication of this document, though 
it angered James, increased the popularity of William 
in England. 

The birth of the Prince of Wales, known in later 
history as the Old Pretender, destroyed all William's 
hopes of the succession to the English throne, which 
he may have contemplated, and was a serious blow to 
what William certainly had at heart, the creation of a 
powerful league against the French king. With Eng- 
land friendly to France, or neutral in the coming 
struggle, it was justly feared that the alliance would 


be powerless. It might succeed if England were to 
declare on the side of the Allies. At first William 
recognized his infant brother-in-law, but when it was 
reported that the child was supposititious, and the 
report was believed, William ceased to have the 
ehild's name mentioned in public worship. William 
must have joined in the popular belief; else it is diffi- 
cult to see why he should have given James what was 
a practical warning that he would claim his wife 
Mary's inheritance by force of arms. To disallow the 
Prince of Wales was to claim the English throne. 
The birth of the Prince was the fatal offence of James. 
William had sent Zulestein to congratulate the 
English king and queen on the event, and Zulestein 
brought back the invitation from the English nobles 
to William, that he should invade England and 
liberate it from the Government which was violating 
the law, and suspending the constitution. William 
was ready enough, but the difficulties were great. He 
had to carry out his project in secret, to hoodwink 
James and Louis, and to induce the United Provinces 
to acquiesce in his plans. Fortunately for William, Louis 
had been affronted by James, and was at the height 
of his quarrel with the Pope and the Emperor, while 
William was making his preparations. Just at the eve 
of the enterprise of the Prince of Orange, Louis de- 
clared war against the emperor and sent his forces to 
the Palatinate, far away from the Dutch frontier and 
thus left the sea open to William. 



James the Second of England had long an- 
nounced his conversion to the Roman Church, to 
the alarm and indignation of the English people. 
But his brother Charles had succeeded in baffling 
the design of Parliament to exclude him from the 
throne, and had, after the last effort made in that 
direction, resolved to summon no more Parliaments. 
In order, however, should it be necessary to meet 
such an assembly again, he had, by a trick of law, 
and with the services of unscrupulous judges, con- 
trived to effect the surrender of the charters by which 
the boroughs exercised their franchises, and, to a 
great extent, their representation in Parliament, and to 
re-grant them under such conditions as to secure the 
royal influence in all or most of them. How well he 
had taken his measures is proved by the complete 
subservience of the only Parliament which his brother 
and successor ever summoned. This Parliament made 
James such enormous grants that he was under no 
necessity, except war broke out, to have recourse to 


his people again ; and there can be no doubt, had his 
reign been prolonged, that he would have never sum- 
moned a Parliament. 

James was as fond of French money as Charles, 
but he was not nearly so prodigal, and a great deal 
more proud. He resented the advice of the monarch 
to whom he was indebted, and even disavowed that 
understanding with him which he had entered into 
in consideration of the money which Louis advanced 
him. Meanwhile he had contrived to alienate every 
one from him, even the Church of England, which 
had been preaching the doctrine of passive obedience 
for a generation. His design was to effect the con- 
version of the English people to his religion, and to 
employ every means which the law and his preroga- 
tive gave him in order to effect this result. In order 
to make a party, beyond the Roman Catholics in his 
kingdom, he proclaimed, by his sole authority and in 
defiance of the law, absolute toleration for all Dis- 
senters, and the suspension of all laws and disabilities 
which had been enacted against the Roman Catholics, 
hoping that thereby he might gain the Dissenters, 
while he had no suspicion that the English clergy 
would break away from their loyalty to him, howevei 
much they were affronted and injured. In order to 
secure his objects, he brought over a considerable 
body of troops from Ireland, all men of his own 
creed, and all officered by men of his own creed. Now 
if there was one thing which was more injurious than 
anything else to his father, it was the bare suspicion 
that he had meditated the enlistment of an Irish 
army against the Parliamentary forces, and now 


James had Irish regiments under arms in the vicinity 
of London, with the object, as it appeared, of over- 
awing the city of London. And as I have already 
said, the birth of a son, who would be brought up in 
his father's obnoxious creed, made the permanent 
degradation of England an assured prospect. 

The French envoy at the Hague was not blind to 
the meaning of William's preparations, and had in- 
formed Louis and James, assuring the States that 
there was an understanding between the two 
monarchs, under which any attack on either would 
be treated as a declaration of war. James, however, 
in a fit of pride, denied that there was any under- 
standing beyond that which was known to the whole 
world, and so offended his French ally, who practically 
left him to his fate. By the aid of Dykvelt and Fagel 
William contrived to induce, at last, all the United 
Provinces to assist him in his undertaking. They had 
probably learned how hostile the English people were 
to their infatuated king. They were informed of the 
assistance which was promised by the leading English 
nobles, and they must have been entirely convinced 
how dangerous the designs of Louis were. Now if 
war were to come, it was of the utmost consequence 
to them that England should be the ally of Holland, 
and not passively or actively on terms of friendship 
with France. They remembered the dangers which 
they ran in 1672, and many of them no doubt re- 
called how, a century before, the aid of the English 
had been of the greatest importance to them in the 
War of Independence. It must have been for such 
reasons as these that the States overcame their re- 











pugnance to engaging in costly hostilities, and these 
with the dreaded King of France. Besides, William 
had contrived to gain the warm friendship and close 
alliance of the Elector of Brandenburg. He knew 
that he should have the support of the Emperor of 
Germany, and that even the Pope was favourable to 
the enterprise of the heretic prince, if he could only 
be free from the insults of France, the king of which 
was now engaged in thrusting a partisan of his into 
a German bishopric, in defiance of both Pope and 
emperor. He actually seized the opportunity of 
inflicting a serious loss on the Dutch fisheries, and so 
had alienated these persons who had hitherto been 
his partisans. 

On the 29th of October, New Style, but on the 
19th according to the reckoning of most Protestant 
countries, the fleet started on the expedition, but, 
meeting with bad weather, was obliged to return to 
port, a circumstance which induced James to con- 
clude that there was now no present danger. It had 
been the intention of William to effect a landing in the 
North of England, where he believed his partisans 
were strong, and where he might expect Scotch 
assistance. Hither James had gone with his forces. 
There was some delay in starting again, and the wind 
made it necessary that William should land on the 
south-west coast. Here he landed at Torbay, on Nov. 
5th, Old Style, an auspicious day to English minds, 
because it was the anniversary of the deliverance of 
King and Parliament from the Powder Plot. He 
was gladly received, and marched slowly towards 


James was deserted by every one — by his first wife's 
relations, by his most trusted captains, by his army, 
by the clergy, even by his own daughter Anne and 
her husband. Never was king more cruelly dis- 
abused of the impressions which he cherished a few 
weeks before, of the abiding loyalty of his people to 
him. He made no stand whatever, indeed he did 
not know on what he could rely, for every prop of his 
throne had crumbled away. For a time he had 
absolutely no party left. It is doubtful whether even 
those who afterwards professed allegiance to him 
would have suffered him to do more than reign, 
without being allowed to govern. Many of the 
Jacobites of later times would have been content, if 
his name still figured on coins, was kept on the 
Great Seal, and was put in the preamble of writs 
and grants, that he should live in exile, the powers of 
government being committed to a Regent or Regents. 
The majority of Englishmen believed that the child 
was a fraud, even they who made the severest sac- 
rifices in order to avoid acknowledging William. 
After the old king's death, in 1701, not a few of these 
took the oaths to the new settlement, thus showing 
that they had no belief in the son. 

William was by no means satisfied with the re- 
straints which the English Parliament imposed on 
him. He expected to succeed, if not to the powers 
which his predecessors had overstrained, to a large 
prerogative and an ample revenue. But the Parlia- 
ment determined that they would never run the risk 
of another arbitrary reign. They resolved that they 
should be permanently necessary to any government. 


So they iimited their supplies to a year, in order to 
ensure their annual sitting and an annual review of 
the expenditure. They did not, indeed, meddle with 
William's conduct of foreign affairs, for the diplomatic 
handling of which long years of scandalous inactivity 
and corruption had made them unfit ; but they 
exercised a very efficient control over that, without 
which no diplomacy is of any avail. By the theory 
of the English constitution, the king had a great 
prerogative, and was untrammelled in many ways. 
By the theory of the Dutch constitution, William was 
only the elective magistrate of a republic, the States- 
General of which could reprimand, order, and control 
him. But the King of England exercised far more 
power in his own nation than he did in his adopted 
country. Indeed it cannot be doubted that William's 
quarrels with his English Parliaments ruined his con- 
stitution and shortened his life. 

Still he had achieved a great position, and one of 
signal service to his country. The English alliance 
was permanently secured, for the whole nation had 
deposed the old king, and was certain to stand by its 
act. Even those who began to wish James back, 
were convinced that it could not be effected by the 
aid of Louis. The knowledge that England had been 
for two reigns the mere tool of France, made even 
the timid and treacherous indignant at the recurrence 
of this disgraceful sejvitude. War was certain to be 
declared, and war with the object of restoring James^ 
And though his Parliament quarrelled with William j 
thwarted, and vexed him, so that he seriously thought 
of resigning his uneasy dignity, they never flinched 


during the eight years' war which followed, and would 
not make peace till the king of the Revolution was 
acknowledged by France. 

The Dutch too now felt themselves in a condition 
of comparative safety. It is true that they were 
necessarily involved in a war, the first object of which 
was the liberation of England from French influences 
and a heaed sovereign ; but there was no prospect 
now that another 1672 was before them. It is true 
that they had to put up with several galling condi- 
tions in the alliance with England, and to endure that 
commercial jealousy which had been a habit with 
English traders for a century. They could get no 
relaxation of the Navigation Laws, the repayment of 
the money which they had advanced for William's 
expedition was vexatiously delayed, and the English 
Government insisted that the Dutch should follow 
the English practice, and make prize of all shipswhich 
trafficked with the public enemy. Now the Dutch, 
being almost entirely a commercial nation, were in 
the habit of trafficking even with their own enemies, 
and they were very unwilling to enter into an arrange- 
ment by which they should introduce neutrals to a 
trade which they could have carried on on their own 
account. But they yielded, at least in appearance, 
though it is probable that they were not very keen- 
sighted or very diligent in carrying out this part of the 
bargain. It is noteworthy, and is a proof of the extra- 
ordinary influence which William's position gave him, 
that after his death, they refused, when another war 
broke out, to renew this engagement with his successor. 

The Dutch complained that William made them 


the instruments of his English policy ; the English 
that he favoured the Dutch at their expense, that he 
trusted no one but Dutch counsellors, and relied on 
nothing but Dutch troops. These charges probably 
show that William did, as far as possible, the best he 
could by both nations. It was difficult for him to 
trust English statesmen. The profligacy of Charles 
the Second's Court had seriously degraded the 
characters of public men, and though the misconduct 
of James justified the Revolution, the dissimulation 
by which the old king had been driven to his ruin, 
had made even the agents of it, though they had 
associated with William, untrustworthy. In the 
nature of things, men who have betrayed one master 
are dangerous instruments for another to use, and 
William soon found out that they who had taken 
part in his enterprize were in correspondence with 
the exiled king ; not, I believe, because they seriously 
wished or intended his restoration, but from ingrained 
habits of perfidy and intrigue. But William always 
retained the affection of his countrymen. English- 
men who accompanied him in his frequent voyages 
to the Hague were amazed to see how cordially he 
was received, how his cold manner thawed, and his 
grave face was relaxed when he was among the Dutch. 
It was also quite clear that the English would 
employ many men and spend much money in the 
war. Now this meant the negotiation of English 
remittances to Amsterdam, and good business at its 
famous bank For at this time Amsterdam was the 
commercial centre of Europe, and its bank contained 
more specie than all the treasuries of the European 


states, They who have studied the history of the 
exchanges at this time can discover how enormous 
was the profit which the Bank made on the negotia- 
tion of English bills. I have little doubt that this 
profit went a great way towards compensating Hol- 
land for the costs which the war involved, and though 
the Bank was not a State institution, whose profits 
went to the State treasury, yet it was under the 
management of the municipal authorities of that city, 
and its property to a very large extent was theirs. 

The Dutch, who were before so averse to war, now 
requested William that he would declare war against 
France, a request which he was very ready to gratify. 
Louis had declared war against Holland immediately 
on William's landing, not alleging this as the reason 
for hostilities, for it was not yet clear that the ex- 
pedition would be successful ; but stating that the 
States had resisted the election of his creature to the 
see of Cologne. At the same time he declared war 
against Spain, on the ground that the governor of the 
Spanish Netherlands had connived at William's ex- 
pedition. He had already quarrelled with the Em- 
peror of Germany, the Elector of Bavaria, and the 
Duke of Savoy, whom he had previously insulted 
and humbled. William, therefore, had no difficulty 
in consolidating the Grand Alliance, the members of 
which engaged themselves not to make peace with 
France, unless Europe was restored to the condition 
in which it was left by the treaties of Westphalia and 
the Pyrenees. From the days of the Grand Alliance, 
French historians of capacity reckon the decline of 
the French monarchy. 




POPULAR as William was with his countrymen, he 
always had differences with the city of Amsterdam. 
This rich seat of commerce was proud of its municipal 
privileges, and jealous of any interference with its 
municipal independence. Amsterdam, in common 
with the other Dutch towns, had been induced to 
submit the officers whom it appointed to civil office, 
to the approval of the Stadtholder. Now, taking 
advantage of William's absence, they presented their 
nominees to the Court of Holland, on the ground 
that in the absence of the Stadtholder, they were 
acting under their charter. But the State declined to 
act on their recommendation, or to accept their view 
of the charter, and after a somewhat angry quarrel the 
city had to yield. * 

Again they took offence at Bentinck, the favourite 
counsellor of the king, who had been raised to the 
English peerage, and to the great dissatisfaction of 
the English nobility, had been lavishly enriched by 


FROM 1689 TO 1697. 

•Jr. ■»<*.:. 


William, while retaining his place as a Dutch noble in 
the States. They alleged that he had transferred his 
allegiance to another sovereign, that he was natu- 
ralized in another country, and was therefore no 
longer a Hollander. But here, again, they were 
opposed by the rest of Holland, and after having 
excited the vehement anger of William, were obliged 
to give way. I refer to these facts in order to show 
how considerable was William's influence in his native 

country, where he was able 
to override the strongly 
expressed wishes of Am- 
sterdam. In the same way 
William blockaded and re- 
duced the town of Goes for 
venturing to resist his au- 
thority. He was far more 
powerful in Holland than 
in England, and certainly 
in the face of the trouble 
before them, it was expe- 
dient that the executive 
should be strengthened. 

It is true that the 
pride and aggressiveness 
of Louis were irritating the whole of Europe. The 
outrageous violence of the French armies in the 
Palatinate had revived the worst memories of the 
Thirty Years' War. Louis was urging the Turks to 
attack Germany on the east, in order to prevent 
Germany from resisting his aggressions. He was 
threatening the house of Savoy on the Italian 



frontier, and harassing Charles the Second on the 
Spanish. He had occupied the papal dominions in 
Avignon, and had annexed them. Every one of his 
neighbours was irritated and alarmed, and it was not 
difficult, at least on paper, to construct the Grand 
Alliance referred to in the last chapter. But it was 
not so easy to put the Alliance in motion. 

Holland and England were the two countries which 
really resisted with any effect the power of the French 
king. Spain was politically helpless. Her vast em- 
pire was an encumbrance rather than an aid. A 
century and a half of the worst possible kind of govern- 
ment had ruined the Spanish provinces in America. 
The Government of Spain itself was as demoralizing 
and disastrous as that of Mexico and Peru. Spanish 
statesmen were incredibly corrupt and rapacious, and 
the body of the people of Spain was sunk in sloth 
and apathy. Industry was held in dishonour. Public 
spirit was lost. The old discipline of the Spanish 
army had passed away. It is true that Spanish pride 
still survived. But it was pride without energy. 

Leopold of Germany, who reigned from 1658 to 
1705, was a narrow, selfish, sordid bigot. He had to 
defend himself from the Turks in the East, and the 
French in the West. His wisdom would have been 
by timely and generous conciliation, to have united, 
in the bonds of a common interest, all the parts of his 
ill-cemented empire against the common enemy and 
the common danger. But he was far more interested 
in persecuting his Protestant subjects than in secur- 
ing them against foreign foes. Besides, the Thirty 
Years' War had ruined Germany. The country needed 


306 FROM 1689 TO 1697. 

union even more than peace, in order to recover itself, 
and Germany was divided against itself. The future 
of Europe seemed almost hopeless in 1689. There 
were no powers in the civilized world which could be 
relied on in the coming struggle except Holland and 
the newly-enfranchised kingdom of England. 

William had a far harder task with the country 
which accepted rather than welcomed him, than he 
had with his native country. At first all seemed to 
go well. The defection from James was universal in 
Great Britain, and the exiled family never had any 
real party in the country again. But in Ireland 
William had to fight for his crown, and the conquest 
of Ireland occupied all the energies of the English 
Government during the first years of the Revolution, 
and there was but a faint opposition to Louis and his 
projects. They were apparently near to being rea- 
lized. In Flanders, Luxemburg won the battles of 
Fleurus, Steinkirk, and Neerwinden ; in Western Italy, 
Catinat was victorious at StafTard and Marsaille ; 
and Tourville, the French admiral, inflicted serious 
and apparently irreparable damage on the combined 
Dutch and English fleets at Beachy Head. The 
strong fortresses of Mons and Namur were captured, 
and it seemed that the immediate object of the 
French king's ambition would be attained in the con- 
quest of the Spanish Netherlands. The military 
reputation of France remained at the highest as long 
as Luxemburg lived. He died at the end of the 
year 1694, when his services were most needed. 

William was unfortunate as a commander, for he had 
to fight against the most accomplished generals which 


the art of war had yet produced. He was defeated 
in every pitched battle which he fought in Europe. 
But it was early noticed that he lost less by a defeat 
than other generals. His power of recovery after a 
repulse was remarkable and continual. The victories 
of Louis, therefore, in the Low Countries were com- 
paratively barren, and the stubborn resistance of the 
Dutch and English made it plain at last that the con- 
quest of Flanders, if it were ever to be effected, 
would be accomplished only after a prolonged and 
ruinous struggle. " The last pistole wins," was the 
frequent comment of Louis, but as yet he did not 
guess where this would be found. In course of time, 
he discovered that the resources of England and 
Holland were greater than those of France, and that 
they would come out of the war with undiminished 

The first serious check which Louis suffered was 
the battle of La Hogue, fought on May 19, 1692. 
The exiled king, James, deceived by his correspon- 
dents, and still more deceived by the hopes which 
exiles always entertain, was under the impression that 
an invasion of England would not only be feasible but 
successful. He had been assured that it would be so 
by the Jacobites and malcontent Whigs ; he was under 
the impression that the seamen in the fleet desired to 
restore him, and would refuse to fight against the 
French, and he had actually been in correspondence 
with Russel, the admiral. But the King of France 
had always been dissuaded from the project by 
Louvois, and Louvois was a person whose advice 
Louis could not disregard, for he had done more to 

308 FROM 1689 TO 1697. 

secure the military supremacy of Louis than any man 
living. But on July 6, 1 691, Louvois died suddenly 
after an interview with the king, when high words 
passed between them. Though the quarrel had been 
so angry, the king appointed the son of his late 
minister to the office which his father had held, and 
with the most unfortunate results. 

Louis now determined to invade England, with an 
army of French and Irish troops — those Irish troops 
which, after the surrender of Limerick, had passed 
over to the French king's service. It was impossible 
to conceive a worse act of imprudence than to attempt 
an invasion of England with Irish forces. Nothing 
had contributed more to the downfall of James than 
the collection of an Irish army in the neighbourhood 
of London. In the hands of the English enemy, 
whose name was an object of absolute detestation 
throughout England, the enrolment of such an army 
would be sure to excite the most stubborn resistance 
even from those who had hitherto been disaffected or 
mutinous. For the English people, and, for the 
matter of that, the Dutch, however much they may 
have quarrelled or grumbled when danger was 
remote, have always forgotten their differences and 
made an effective truce as soon as ever danger is 
near. In order to still more irritate his former sub- 
jects against him, James put out a manifesto, in which 
he proscribed the nation whom he imagined to be 
anxious for his restoration. The Government very 
wisely reprinted this insane document, with some very 
natural and practical comments. 

The fleet which was to convoy the three hundred 


transports to England consisted of seventy-nine ships 
of the line, some of them being the finest which the 
dockyards of Brest and Toulon had turned out. 
Tourville was again commander, and was strictly 
ordered to fight, and it was determined to undertake 
the enterprise before the English and Dutch fleet had 
got to sea. In order to assure himself, James had 
sent his emissaries among the English admirals. 
Some of them gave these agents fair words, and forth- 
with communicated their information to the English 
Government. The anxiety which the banished king 
felt, and his desire to acquaint himself with the 
strength of the feeling in his favour, while it deceived 
him, undeceived and forewarned the administration. 
The weather in the Channel is always capricious, and 
the time for the rendezvous had long passed by, and 
the French line was not yet formed. 

The combined English and Dutch fleet was superior 
in numbers to that of the French, but in the first part 
of the battle the vessels engaged, owing to the state 
of the wind, were about equal on both sides. But, 
after the contest had been prolonged for five hours, 
and Tourville saw that he had no immediate prospect 
of a successful invasion, the wind changed, and the 
whole allied fleet was able to take part in the battle. 
It was soon over, and the relics of the French arma- 
ment fled to Cherbourg and La Hogue, where the 
army of invasion was waiting to embark. On the 
24th of May, after five days' incessant fighting, 
the French fleet was totally destroyed. All hopes 
of naval supremacy passed away from France. There 
was hardly any naval victory which caused more 

310 FROM 1689 TO 1697. 

national exultation both in England and Holland 
than that of La Hogue. The great commerce of the 
Republic was now placed in comparative safety, and 
the last pistole was more likely than ever to be in the 
Banks of Amsterdam and London. 

Still, the Grand Alliance was very nearly collapsing. 
The northern Powers of Denmark and Sweden, never 
very hearty in their co-operation, began to grow cool 
and finally even hostile. The several powers of Ger- 
many threatened to make a separate peace with 
France if they were not handsomely bribed. They 
even went so far as to state that Louis was ready to 
pay them for deserting the common cause, and that it 
was therefore the policy of England and Holland to 
outbid Louis. Even the German emperor was of 
opinion, and pretty clearly expressed it, that it was 
the duty of England and Holland to undertake the 
defence of his own frontier, and to find him money for 
the purpose of enabling him to achieve further con- 
quests over the Turks. " I cannot," said William, in 
writing to his friend Heinsius, "offer a suggestion 
without being met with a demand for a subsidy." 
But William succeeded in keeping the coalition 
together, by giving these royal mendicants, not all that 
they asked, but more than they had a right to expect. 
He saved the alliance, but he found it hard to induce 
the allies to fight. 

The Spanish Government, at last seriously alarmed, 
offered William the regency of the Netherlands. But 
William refused it. He knew that if he took it, the 
religious differences between the ruler and people 
would make his authority precarious. The Nether- 



— 1 

lands, once the most Protestant country in Europe, 
had now, thanks to the Inquisition, become as Catholic 
as Spain itself, and much more restive. It was not 
possible at the end of the seventeenth century to restore 
the Pacification of Ghent. He therefore recommended 
the nomination of the Elector of Bavaria, who had good 
reason for being the enemy of France. A few years 
later, the Elector found its friendship even more mis- 
chievous. But the delay and half-heartedness of 
the allies led to the loss of 

And now a series of events 
were recurring, of which his- 
torians are apt to take no 
notice, but which had more 
to do with the rapid exhaus- 
tion of France than any 
defeats or victories could 
have. The harvest of 1692 
was unfavourable, and for 
six or seven years the har- 
vests in Western Europe 
remained unfavourable. In 
a country like England, where ordinary prices 
were nearly doubled, much distress prevailed. In 
France, where the peasant farmer was forced to bear 
nearly all the charges of government, the, cost of the 
buildings at Versailles and Marli, and the cost of the 
great king's army, the calamity was ruinous. In 
Holland, which imported nine-tenths of its food, and 
had a habit of keeping a store at Amsterdam, which 
would be sufficient for the wants of two or three years, 


312 FROM 1689 TO 1697. 

which it imported from all parts of the world, whence 
food could be got, the rise in prices was inconvenient, 
but not disastrous. The period from 1692 to 1698 
inclusive was long remembered in tradition as the 
seven dear years. 

The year 1693 and 1694 were marked by brilliant 
victories, by horrible cruelties, by great sufferings, but by 
small military results. Louis began to find his resources 
fail him. But in the second of these years, the founda- 
tion of the Bank of England at once contributed and 
utilized the resources of the country. In 1695, 
William undertook and achieved the recapture of 
Namur, to the great chagrin of Louis. Early in the 
next year, Louis was unquestionably privy as was also 
James, to a plot devised for the murder of William, 
and there is little doubt that Berwick was sent to 
England in order to encourage, if not to advise, the 
conspirators. The plot failed, the culprits being 
detected and executed, as indeed all other conspiracies 
against William's life failed. 

At last both sides were exhausted. Louis was ready 
to acknowledge William's title, and William saw that 
for a time the Netherlands, the barrier of Holland, were 
safe. But the Powers which sacrificed the least, and 
got the largest subsidies through the war, put forward 
the most preposterous claims. Spain and Austria 
demanded what Louis was not likely to grant, and 
they had no power of enforcing. The absurd for- 
malities of diplomacy seemed likely to postpone the 
settlement to an indeterminate date, when William 
and Bentinck entered into a distinct negotiation with 
the French envoy, and rapidly settled the terms of 



peace. The arrangement nearly fell through owing 
to the selfish and dilatory action of Spain and Austria, 
which gave Louis an opportunity of insisting on the 
retention of Strasburg. On the 10th of September 
the treaty was signed, and the first part of this long 
war with France was ended. 




As soon as ever the power of Louis failed to make 
progress, it began to decline. We know this now by 
the evidence of facts. But the terror of Europe after 
the accession of Philip to the throne of Spain, and 
the apparent union of all Western Europe, Central 
America, and the west coast of South America under 
one master head, or at least under one settled policy, 
was universal and intelligible. No man at the time 
could have foreseen that the ambition and cupidity of 
Louis, the success with which he subdued his nobles 
and people at home, and the success with which he 
gratified his ambition abroad, would in time bring 
about by natural and traceable causes, the great catas- 
trophe which is known in history as the French 
Revolution. But of all European countries none had 
so reasonable a fear as the Dutch. The inheritance 
of Spain included those provinces which William the 
Silent had nearly gained to the great confederation, 
and Alva and Parma had securely recovered for Spain. 


A wealthy, vigorous, and powerful monarch, who had 
trained all the commanders of Europe, even those who 
were to be opposed to him, Marlborough and Eugene, 
had taken the place of the poor, imbecile, and power- 
less kings of Spain of the Austrian family in the 
person of Philip's grandson, and the most able oppo- 
nent of the French king had just died in what should 
have been the prime of life, worn out by the folly, 
short-sightedness, and factiousness of the English 
Parliament. He was succeeded by his wife's sister, 
Anne, the silliest person who ever sat on the English 
throne, and was really strong only by the unbounded 
deference she showed to Sarah, the imperious wife of 

Ever since reaching his majority and the conduct of 
affairs by himself, Louis had been conspiring against 
the Dutch Republic. He had conspired against them 
independently, and in concert with Charles, the pro- 
fligate whom the English aristocracy restored, and 
whose career inflicted permanent injury on the public 
and private morality of the people he was allowed to 
rule over. He had tried as soon as he could to detach 
the Stadtholder William from all patriotic aims, and it 
is not improbable that William so far went with his 
intrigues as to acquiesce in the murder of the De 
Witts, the tragedy which followed on the unprovoked 
war of 1672. But as we have seen, when, William in 
this crisis was raisedyto the Stadtholderate, he became 
the persistent and active enemy of Louis. He was not 
strong enough to grapple with him, but he succeeded 
in checking him, and though the issues of the wars 
which ended with the peace of Nimeguen, and the 


treaty of Ryswick, had left the position of Louis to 
all appearance stronger and more imposing than ever, 
the successes of the great king would have been more 
secure and more pronounced had not William stood 
in his way. And now William was gone. 

It is probable that Louis never wished to effect the 
conquest and annexation of the Dutch Republic, any 
more than Philip of Macedon wished to effect the sub- 
jugation of Athens. But it was all important to make 
it submissive, or at least, neutral. Had Louis suc- 
ceeded in his plans, had he secured the frontier of the 
Rhine, and permanently disorganized the Roman 
empire, he might have given Holland the boon which 
the grateful Cyclops in his den offered Ulysses, that 
of being devoured the last. By the neutrality of 
Holland he would have deprived the Alliance of one 
among the Powers who could find money for the war, 
the other being Great Britain, and the people of 
Great Britain could hardly have been counted on for 
all the expense which the Spanish war of succession 
would be sure to entail. Besides, if Holland were 
neutral, it would soon be possible to cripple the English 
trade in the East, and finally to come to close quarters 
with the Dutch. For nearly a century, the French 
strove to acquire the British factories in India, and the 
British plantations in America. In the middle of the 
eighteenth century, it seemed far from improbable 
that they would succeed. Clive defeated their aims 
in India, and the first exploits of Washington were 
directed against them in America. But the military 
purposes which were finally baffled in the Seven Years' 
War were the outcome of projects which were originally 
devised by the ambition of Louis. 


Again the Dutch had reason to be alarmed at the 
intolerance of Louis, who was as resolute in his 
attempts to extirpate Protestantism as the Inquisition 
and Alva had been. Louis was not a moral person, not 
even, except in outward form, a religious one. Philip 
of Spain sincerely believed that he was fulfilling the 
highest duties of a Christian in burning Jews and 
heretics alive after torture. He would have sacrificed 
his own family to the Inquisition if any suspicion of 
heresy could have been brought home to them. He 
would have given up his own life, so he said, if he had 
fallen away, through mental aberration, or demoniac 
possession, from the faith which the council of Trent 
defined. He was by no means disposed to yield to 
the Pope or his own bishops in temporal matters, 
however submissive he was in spiritual things, for he 
kept the patronage of ecclesiastical offices strictly in 
his own hands. But Philip sincerely and devoutly 
believed what he wished to impress on others. Within 
the circle of orthodoxy he welcomed ascetic and 
passionate devotion, and was as much a monk himself 
as his official industry allowed him to be. 

But Louis was by no means of this mind. He was 
orthodox, for to his view the unity and strength of 
France lay in the completeness of its orthodoxy. But 
he browbeat and insulted the head of his Church with 
nearly as much persistent bitterness as his ancestor, 
Philip the Fair did Bbniface the Eighth. He despoiled 
the Pope of his ancient inheritance in France, and 
never restored it. In consequence of this quarrel a 
third of the French dioceses were at one time empty, 
and this in a Church where the offices of a bishop 


were considered essential to salvation. He hated 
heartily all pious enthusiasm. The Quietists were 
orthodox, but they fell under his ban, and were 
repressed or exiled. The Jansenists set up a rule 
of exalted morality, of severe truthfulness, of rigid 
but not unkindly piety, and Louis was implacable 
towards them. His own court was entirely orthodox, 
and profoundly immoral. The fact is, Louis detested 
singularity. He saw in it a revolt from his authority. 
No one was to be wiser, stricter, and more virtuous 
than the King of France was. For this view he had 
some excuse in the history of the country over which 
he ruled, for the Huguenot nobles, with all the stern- 
ness of their religion, were somewhat turbulent sub- 
jects, and Louis, like many other rulers, believed that 
the repression of opinion was the extinction of 

The Hollanders had now become tolerant, and could 
not at last be roused to bigotry by the most impas- 
sioned and unsparing of their Calvinist preachers. 
But they could see that a powerful, unscrupulous, 
and intolerant neighbour, with whom religion was 
policy, was a danger. In common, too, with most 
Reformed countries and with not a few of those which 
were Catholic, they had a hearty aversion to the 
Jesuits and with reason suspected their purposes. To 
their intrigues they ascribed the revocation of the 
Edict of Nantes, the atrocities that were perpetrated 
in the Cevennes, and the war of despair, which the 
Camisards began, a war, the particulars of which were 
as atrocious as those of the Reign of Terror ninety 
years later. Now English wits could jest about John 


Bull, and Lord Strutt, and Louis Baboon, and Nick 
Frog ; but the King of France was a far more serious 
person to the Hollanders than he was to the English. 
But the principal cause of alarm which the European 
Powers entertained about Louis and his designs was 
the total want of faith and honour which characterized 
the great king. He was as perfidious, as treacherous, 
as lying as an Italian pupil of Machiavelli. He was 
an intriguer of the fifteenth century, holding a powerful 
place in Europe in the eighteenth. No oath, no treaty 
bound him. If people pointed to his solemn renun- 
ciations he had an easy expedient at hand. His 
parliament, otherwise submissive and docile, stiffly 
stood out against his relinquishing anything.' The 
Popes used to absolve kings from their oaths for a 
consideration, the French Parliament, high-minded 
and resolute only in this, affirmed that his oath was 
no oath, and Louis expected the European Powers to 
be satisfied with an interpretation of public duty and 
good faith with which the servile lawyers, who formed 
what was called the French Parliament, supplied him. 
Now a sovereign of great power, of solid purpose, of 
tenacious will, who has large armies and large means 
for keeping them afoot, is a very dangerous person at 
all times. But if to these resources he adds habitual 
perfidy, and an utter disregard for the most solemn 
pledges ; the distrust which he naturally excites is 
pretty certain to develop a very energetic and persis- 
tent hatred. Nor do I doubt that, had it not been for 
the English Tories, when they finally acquired an 
ascendency in Parliament, and over the councils of 
Anne, Marlborough would have dictated the terms of 


peace to Louis in his own capital, and have rent from 
him all his acquisitions. 

There were persons, indeed, both in England and 
Holland, who saw that the ambition of Louis was 
overreaching itself. In a past age the matrimonial alli- 
ances of European sovereigns were supposed to confer 
rights over subjects which it was impious to dispute 
and treasonable to resist. No sovereigns had appealed 
at a more early date to the principle of nationality 
than the French sovereigns had, and with greater 
success. The kingdom of France had been consoli- 
dated by the policy of seeking to make every inhabi- 
tant glory in the name of Frenchman. But the 
patriotism of a Spaniard was as keen as that of a 
Frenchman, perhaps keener ; for his name, and the 
departed glories of his name, were all that he had to 
recall. The house of Austria had effectually de- 
stroyed everything else. The Hollanders, too, had 
emphatically repudiated dynastic rights. The Eng- 
lish had changed the succession and had transferred 
it over twenty or thirty heads to the most remote 
descendant of the first Stewart king, to a petty German 
prince, one of the least considerable potentates in 
that rope of sand, the later German Empire. 

Such persons argued in England — "What interest 
have we in the question as to whether Philip ot 
Bourbon or Charles of Austria is to reign in Spain ? 
The Spanish Empire is ready to fall to pieces, but we 
want no part of it. It is very likely that the Emperor 
of Germany wants to recover those Italian provinces, 
which his predecessors claimed, sometimes ruled 
and finally ruined. Very likely the French king 


cherishes the dreams of his predecessors, Charles the 
Eighth and Francis the First, or fancies that he has 
succeeded to the rights and the designs of his Austrian 
kinsfolk Charles the Fifth and Philip the Second. He 
is unquestionally bold, unscrupulous, and ambitious. 
But he will be less able to turn these dreams into 
realities, if he hampers himself with the defence of 
his grandson's inheritance. He will be certainly baffled 
if he tries to despoil him of any part of it. Nothing 
is more costly, nothing more disappointing, than the 
attempt to establish a protectorate over a country 
which is intensely jealous of its independence, even 
though it takes the money and accepts the military 
assistance which it cannot provide out of its own 
resources. It is difficult enough to assist Spain with 
entirely disinterested motives. If the King of France, 
who is never disinterested in his objects, but always sel- 
fish and grasping, seeks to enlarge his dominions at the 
expense of Spain, the more he does for his grandson 
the more will he and his grandson be hated. The 
poor creature who just lately died was to his people the 
impersonation of the Spanish Empire, and a Spanish 
policy, and though he was son-in-law and nephew to 
Louis, made war on him for these ends. The 
Spaniards will never consent to be the tools of 
France, or allow their king to be a viceroy for his 
grandfather. If Spanish and French interests are at 
variance, no ties of bjood or alliance will prevent a 
collision between the two kingdoms, and Philip will be 
either obliged to follow the policy of the country which 
has accepted him, or be soon driven from the throne." 
Events proved that these people reasoned correctly. 



In Holland, too, contemporary evidence shows that 
similar opinions were current. There were public 
men who saw that Louis was increasing, not lighten- 
ing his difficulties, that he was engaged, to use a com- 
mercial phrase, in doubling his liabilities, indefinitely 
increasing his expenses, and making no addition to 
his capital. " Our policy," they argued, "is to keep out 
of European and especially out of dynastic complica- 
tions. Our late Stadtholder looked after our interests, 
though we had to pay a heavy price. We are now 
again a free republic. It is our wisdom to protect 
our frontier, to husband our resources and to increase 
our trade. We are already heavily in debt for our 
past wars, and while these belligerents are wasting 
their means we shall be increasing ours. Besides, the 
English, partly from selfishness, partly from ignorance, 
insist that we should contract our trade with Spain 
and France. We deal in the choicest of products. 
What were once luxuries are now, thanks to our 
energy and perseverance, common comforts, and we 
have a monopoly of this trade. The English people 
would gladly deprive us of it, under the hypocritical 
pretence of high policy and military necessity. Our 
course should be to stand aloof. The English are 
covetous and enterprising, the Germans are covetous 
and beggarly, and we should not present our trade to 
to the one and our florins to the other. We can 
easily get ample guarantees from France, and a sub- 
stantial barrier on the Flemish frontier. There is no 
price which Louis will not pay for our neutrality." So 
I find that the Dutch party which was unfriendly to 
the war argued during the interval between the succes- 
sion of Philip and the outbreak of war. 


In one particular they were certainly in the right. 
Louis spared no pains, and no offers to secure the 
neutrality of the Dutch during the war of the Spanish 
succession. He would even, it seems, have guaranteed 
that there should be no military operations in Flan- 
ders at all, and that ample indemnities should be 
given to Holland as the price of neutrality. For he 
saw that if Holland were neutral not only would half 
the sinews of war be gone, but that it would be diffi- 
cult for the allies to land a single soldier on Western 
Europe. He offered through his agent, Barre, to renew 
his alliance with the States, to guarantee their com- 
merce, to renew the treaties of Munster, Nimeguen, 
and Ryswick, with any additional security which they 
might demand, and to pledge himself that the Spanish 
Netherlands should be occupied with Spanish troops 
only. On the other hand, Anne despatched the Earl 
of Manchester within a week after her accession, to 
assure the Dutch that her resolution was the same as 
that of her predecessor, and that the interests of Hol- 
land and England were identical and equally impor- 
tant to her. 

The States of Holland decided to stand by their 
resolution, for now that there was no Stadtholder, 
Holland was, to use a modern phrase, the empire 
state of the United Provinces. They persuaded the 
States-General, who were summoned for deliberation, to 
accept the same policy and to repudiate all the offers 
of Louis. On May 15, 1702, Great Britain, Germany, 
and Holland, issued the declaration of war, the plea 
being the ambition and bad faith of Louis. The atti- 
tude of the French king showed how deeply he was 


disappointed at the resolution taken by Holland. He 
took no offence at the attitude of Great Britain and 
Germany; but said, " Messieurs, the Dutch merchants, 
will repent for having provoked so great a king as I 

I have dwelt at length on these particulars, because 
the decision come to in the spring of 1702 was so 
momentous in the future fortunes of the Dutch Re- 
public. They were drawn into the European system, 
and no effort which they made afterwards sufficed to 
draw them out of it. In this unequal struggle they 
were finally exhausted, though it must be allowed 
that other faults of government or policy contributed 
to this result. 

The war resolved on, the question was, who should 
be commander. Rumour was busy. At one time it 
was the Landgrave of Hesse. Soon afterwards a 
story was afloat that Queen Anne had recommended 
her husband, George of Denmark. It was probably 
an idle guess. Silly as Anne was, she must have known 
that her husband was the most incompetent fool in 
Christendom. Charles the Second had described him 
and his faculties with some pleasantry. The States- 
General soon put an end to all rumours by appointing 
Marlborough. Unhappily the English allowed the 
Queen to put her husband at the head of the navy, in 
the capacity of Lord High Admiral. More than once 
the stupid servility of the English people has put in 
jeopardy the most important interests, by committing 
them into the hands of royal fools. The mismanage- 
ment of George of Denmark had a very disastrous 
effect on the early naval operations of the allies. 


Marlborough was the son of a poor country knight. 
He came to the Court of Charles the Second with 
many personal graces and great natural gifts. He had 
improved his natural abilities in the art of war by 
serving under the great Turenne. He had improved 
his fortunes by his intimacy with the shameless and 
rapacious Barbara Villiers, Lady Castlemaine, the 
king's mistress, and his position by marrying Sarah 
Jennings, the favourite and arrogant waiting woman 
of Princess Anne. His interest was further served 
by the fact that his sister, Arabella Churchill, was the 
mistress of James, Duke of York, and the mother of 
the famous Duke of Berwick, one of the last great 
generals in the service of Louis, a person whose 
attachment to his father, and his father's benefactor, 
was constant and devoted. Berwick was not only a 
person of great abilities, but of high character. 

It was impossible for John Churchill, with these 
recommendations, natural, acquired, and incidental, 
to fail of making his way at Court. He was soon 
ennobled, and on the accession of James he was 
trusted. He deserted his master at a crisis, he per- 
suaded the king's daughter to desert her father with 
him, and he passed over to the service of William. 
He exhibited his great military abilities under the 
Dutch king, but soon fell into disgrace, for with him 
treachery and intrigue were a passion. , As long as 
Mary lived he was^a traitor, as soon as she died he 
became loyal to the English Revolution, for the suc- 
cession of Anne was now assured, and he ruled Anne 
through his wife. His fidelity at last squared with 
his interest, and he remained consistently loyal to the 


latter. I do not find so much fault with Churchill, 
when I think of his associations, and of the expedients 
which he was obliged to adopt in order to save his 
interests. It is very difficult, perhaps impossible, to 
discover any public man who lived through the vile age 
of the English Restoration, and under the influences 
of the Court, who was not thoroughly tainted by the 
atmosphere which he breathed. But I am disposed 
to believe that historians would have been more kindly 
to his faults had it not been for the family which he 

Churchill was avaricious beyond experience, and 
was seconded in his passion for money-getting by his 
wife. But in military skill he was far in advance of 
his age, some say of all men. He never lost his head, 
his temper, or his judgment. His conception of a 
campaign was faultless, his interpretation of a field of 
battle perfect. He never made a mistake in the art 
of war, never gave a chance to an enemy, never failed 
in a plan, never lost a battle. When he was thwarted 
by the Dutch deputies, who would be wiser than he 
was, and could not be expected to anticipate when we 
now know, he was as deferential to the States as 
Maurice had been in his better days, and with less 
reason, for he soon put Louis in such a position as 
destroyed the reputation of his military system in 
Europe. He first saved Germany, he then saved 
Holland, and he might, had time been given him, have 
brought Louis on his knees before Europe. But for 
the Dutch deputies, he might have finished the war 
within a year of its commencement; and again in 1705, 
for willing as he was to prolong the war, which was 


filling his pockets, he had the truest instincts of a 
soldier, which was that the best wars are short wars. 
But though he was thwarted, his temper was placid, 
almost angelic. He yielded to them with the greatest 
grace, and continued, as the custom was, to receive his 
percentages on their and the British expenditure. He 
even conceded more than was reasonable to the 
beggarly German princes, perhaps winked at their 
embezzling English and Dutch money, of course 
minus his percentage, and graciously accepted a Ger- 
man patent of nobility. But the tension of his life 
was too great, and before he reached old age he became 

There was of course an awkwardness which was 
inherent in the hostilities which the Dutch, the English, 
and the Germans commenced. The object of the 
allies was to secure the Spanish throne and the 
Spanish dominions to the son of the emperor. But 
they could do this only by subduing the strongholds of 
the actual king of Spain, and by ravaging or otherwise 
injuring what they alleged to be the rightful inheri- 
tance of his rival, On the other hand, Louis could act 
on the defensive in Spain and Holland, and on the 
offensive in Germany, particularly in the South, where 
the Elector of Bavaria was his ally, and for a consider- 
able time, his only ally. It was therefore (the rear 
being efficiently protected by the capture or occupa- 
tions of sufficient forjfcs) advisable at an early d ite to try 
conclusions with the armies of Louis in Germany. 

In the first of his campaigns, Marlborough got 
possession of several fortresses on the Flemish frontier 
which were of great advantage to him in strengthening 







the base of his operations. But the English Parliament 
insisted that the Dutch should cease to trade with 
France and Spain as a condition of their furnishing 
the allies with an additional 10,000 troops, and the 
Dutch, though sorely against their will, yielded, but as 
I suspect not very cordially^ and not very thoroughly. 
Then the English fleet captured or destroyed the 
Spanish treasure fleet in Vigo Bay, a loss which greatly 
fell on the Dutch, as the treasure had been already 
assigned to them in payment of debts incurred. But 
so enthusiastic were they, that the States of Holland 
alone voted nine million guilders for the war. 

In 1703 Marlborough reduced Bonn, and other places 
on the Rhine or near it, and would have joined battle 
with Villeroi, but the Dutch deputies forbad it, on the 
ground that if the combat was unsuccessful to the 
allies, Holland would be exposed to a French invasion. 
It was in this year that Louis had to take active 
measures against the Camisards of Languedoc. 

In 1 704, Marlborough marched into the Black Forest, 
and won the great battle of Blenheim or Hochstadt, 
over Tallard. The French army was entirely de- 
stroyed or captured, Germany was liberated from 
French troops, and Bavaria was occupied by the 
others. In the meantime the archduke Charles, son 
of the emperor, and Austrian claimant of the Spanish 
crown, came to England, passed over to Portugal, and 
was welcomed by some of the Spaniards, especially 
the Catalans. In this year Rooke and the Prince of 
Darmstadt captured the rock of Gibraltar, a fortress 
which the English have held ever since, against fre- 
quent and desperate sieges. 


Early in 1705, the emperor died, and was succeeded 
by his eldest son Joseph. Villars continued to evade 
a battle with Marlborough, and later on, when the 
English general was opposed to Villeroi and could 
have constrained him to fight, the Dutch deputies 
again interposed with the plea that the risk was too 
great. Here, as I have already stated, the patience 
and address of Marlborough so won on the Dutch that 
thenceforward they determined to rely on his judgment. 
In Spain, the forces of Philip were demoralized by the 
unsuccessful attack on Gibraltar. In the north of that 
kingdom, Barcelona was captured by the eccentric 
Lord Peterborough, and the whole of Catalonia and 
Valentia declared for Charles. 

In 1706, early in the year, Marlborough won the 
battle of Ramillies, over the French general Villeroi. 
The effect of this victory was the total evacuation of 
the Low Countries by the French. In September, 
another French army was destroyed near Turin, and 
Madrid was occupied by Charles, and for a time Spain 
seemed to be lost to the French prince. It seemed as 
though everything was against Louis, his people were 
oppressed with taxation, the currency was debased, 
and the French king was constrained to have recourse 
to an inconvertible paper. He was now sincerely 
anxious for peace, but the Allies deemed that no 
peace would be secure, unless France was thoroughly 
humiliated. There was no reason to believe that 
Holland wished to continued a struggle which was so 
exhausting, but the bad faith of Louis had been so 
conspicuous, that the Dutch naturally resolved that 
they would have solid guarantees for the future. 


Up to this time Louis and his grandson had ex- 
perienced nothing but reverses, the allies and their 
protege Charles, had experienced constant success. 
But in Spain the tide began to turn. Spaniards have 
not infrequently been defeated in pitched battles, but 
it has always been hard to permanently occupy the 
country, for it and its inhabitants were singularly 
suitable for guerilla warfare. It took the Romans a 
longer time to conquer Spain than it did any other 
country outside Italy, and tasked the abilities of their 
most competent generals. Now Charles was not only 
deficient in courage and daring, but he had come into 
Spain by the help of a foreign army, while the success 
of the allies foreshadowed the partition of the Spanish 
Empire. On April 25th, Berwick, the English exile, 
joined battle at Almanza with Galway, the French 
exile, and completely routed him. This was practi- 
cally the ruin of the Austrian prince. 

In 1708 Louis attempted to make a diversion by 
sending James to Scotland. But as James, called by 
the English the old Pretender, was at Dunkirk, he 
was seized with illness, the project got wind, and the 
port was blockaded by Byng. Louis saw that without 
Dutch and British subsidies, not one of the other allies 
could move, and he imagined that the Scotch, with some 
of whom the act of Union was distasteful, would rise 
in revolt against the English Government. In July 
Vendome lost the battle of Oudenard, and the affairs 
of Louis became desperate. He feared that he should 
have to abandon his grandson's cause. Added to 
the calamities of war, there came two excessively un- 
productive harvests in succession, which seem to have 


been even more disastrous in France than they even 
were in England. 

In 1709 Louis renewed his negotiations for peace, 
but with their successes the claims of the allies 
became more exacting. The French king was not 
only to abandon his grandson, but to abandon the 
frontier which he had created, and be content with 
that which had been given to France by the treaty ot 
Westphalia. Louis appealed to his people, collected 
a fresh army, and the French, under Villars, fought 
the fourth great battle at Malplaquet. It was lost, 
and Louis again had recourse to negotiations. But 
the demands of the allies increased, they now insisted 
that Louis should dethrone his grandson by force. 

In 1 7 10 both parties were exhausted, though the 
allies took several towns on the French frontier, and 
Marlborough certainly intended to make his next cam- 
paign in France itself. Meanwhile, Spain was again 
lost and won. In July and August Philip was defeated 
in two battles and fled from Madrid. In December 
Vendome drove Charles and his allies from Castile, 
captured the army at Brihuega, and won a battle at 
Villaviciosa. Meanwhile, a great change was coming 
over English opinion. The Tories gained a majority 
in both houses, at the end of the year, and deter- 
mined to displace Marlborough and bring about a 

The long continuance of the war, the sufferings of 
the people, and the added calamity of the two years' 
famine had developed a peculiarly malignant kind of 
smallpox. It frequently happens after very destructive 
and protracted wars, that the world, even that part of 


it which has taken no part in the struggle, is afflicted 
with new and fatal pestilences. In 171 1 death was 
busy. Louis of France lost from his own family the 
Dauphin, the Duke and Duchess of Burgundy, his 
great grandson and his brother, all from the same 
disease. In the same year it was fatal to the Emperor 
Joseph, and the titular King of Spain became 
Emperor of Germany. There remained only one 
infant two years old, between Philip of Spain and the 
throne of France, and if effect was to be given to the 
purposes of the allies, Germany and Spain were to 
be again united as they had been under Charles the 

In effect the smallpox brought the war of the 
Spanish succession to an end. As I have said, had 
Marlborough been continued in his command, he 
would have certainly invaded France, and have en- 
forced as far as the French frontier was concerned, 
the proposals which Louis rejected in 1709. But 
the Tories were resolved to recall Marlborough. His 
wife had been supplanted in the Queen's favour by 
her own waiting woman, and it is probable that Anne 
and her advisers had planned to restore the Pretender 
Ormond was sent to supersede Marlborough, and was 
soon instructed to become inactive. The emperor 
and the German princes were furious ; they had been 
long used- to English subsidies. But the new Govern- 
ment answered with some show of reason that Germany 
and Spain united were as a great violation of the 
balance of power, as Spain and France united could 
be, and that it was the interest of Europe that the 
government of the -three countries should be and 


always remain distinct. The object of Europe then 
was to extort a renunciation of the kingdom of 
France from Philip, a renunciation of the kingdom of 
Spain from the French princes. 

On April 1 1, 17 13, the treaty of Utrecht was signed. 
It embraced Great Britain, Holland, Prussia, and 
Savoy. But the emperor stood aloof from it, and 
continued the war with France alone. Some losses 
which he suffered at the hands of Villars, and were 
inevitable, when he had his own resources only to 
depend on soon brought him to reason, and the peace 
of Rastadt was signed on March, 17 14. The most 
scandalous act in connection with this peace, was the 
abandonment of the Catalans to the vengeance of 
France and Spain. The allies had incited the revolt 
of these northern Spaniards, had supplied them with 
foreign forces, and had now deserted them. 

In this famous peace France agreed to recognize 
the Hanoverian succession, to demolish Dunkirk, and 
to cede its American possessions on the north-east of 
the Plantations. It yielded the Low Countries to 
Holland, to hold as trustees till peace was concluded 
with the emperor, the revenue, derivable from them, 
being secured to the Elector of Bavaria till such 
time as his hereditary dominions were restored to 
him. It engaged to admit Dutch garrisons into 
eleven frontier towns, a million florins being paid 
annually from the Netherland revenues for the pur- 
pose of maintaining this garrison. The Duke of 
Savoy had an enlargement of territory, and the 
Elector of Brandenburg was recognized as the King 
of Prussia with certain rectifications of frontier. Besides 


these general engagements Spain yielded to England, 
Gibraltar, Port Mahon, and the island of Minorca, 
with a regulated share under the Assiento treaty in 
the slave trade, for the Spanish conquerors of the 
New World had exhausted the natives by compulsory 
labour in the mines, and had introduced negro slaves 
into America in order to fill up the void. 



As far as the words of treaties went, the position of 
Holland after the War of the Spanish Succession was 
over was rendered satisfactory. The Dutch were 
guaranteed the full liberty of trading with Spain 
which they had enjoyed before the war was under- 
taken, and were permitted to enjoy the privileges of 
French subjects, especially in the Mediterranean ports 
of France. The Dutch were a little alarmed at the 
cession of a part of the frontier to the new King of 
Prussia in exchange for the principality of Orange, 
near Avignon, which Frederic William claimed as the 
representative of the house of Orange. 

There were, however, serious results from the war. 
This struggle had been costly beyond experience, and 
the wealth of Holland had been seriously lessened, 
and its future industry pledged by the subsidies 
which it had granted, the expenses it had incurred, 
and the loans which it had raised. Dutch credit was, 
and remained, good long after the period of which 1 
am writing. The State could borrow from its thrifty 


citizens on better terms than other governments could, 
and though the interest laid on Dutch stock was low, 
foreigners invested in a security the dividends of which 
were always punctually paid. But the prosperity of 
Holland depended on its supremacy in trade, and 
here the rivalry of England, a country with far greater 
resources, and in a far more safe position, was sure 
to affect the activity of the Republic. Besides, the 
English were beginning to secure that place in manu- 
facturing industry which they have long and success- 
fully occupied, and to supplant the Hollander. Not 
many years after the War of the Spanish Succession 
was over, the rate of interest in England was nearly 
as low as it was in Holland. 

The debt of Holland was very heavy for the times. 
The State of Holland alone, the largest of the United 
Provinces, had a debt of nineteen millions of guilders, 
and the collective debt of the United Provinces was 
nearly ten times that amount. At the beginning of 
the eighteenth century such a debt filled statesmen 
with alarm, and not only in Holland, but in England, 
the state of the finances made people fear that a 
collapse of public credit was inevitable. To obviate 
such alarms, redoubled efforts were needed, and more 
energetic rivalry practised, in which it was hard for 
the weaker nation to make head against the stronger, 
even if the relations between the two countries, Hol- 
land and England, had been maintained with perfect 
fairness. But, in truth, the English Government used 
Holland very ill, dictating to the United Provinces 
what should be their form of government, forcing 
on the reluctant Republic monarchical or quasi- 



monarchical forms, entrapping Holland into taking 
part in the continental policy of England, and en- 
couraging its own merchants to supplant the Dutch 
in their own domain of trade. 

The Dutch indeed welcomed the accession of the 
house of Hanover with enthusiasm. They saw that 
the party which had thwarted them in the late war 
was driven from power and discredited, and they felt 
assured that George, the new English king, would be 
their friend. They even lamented that the life of 
Anne was prolonged, so that the surrender, as they 
deemed it, of Utrecht had been effected, and that 
they reaped but little advantage from their sacrifices. 
They gave considerable assistance to George at the 
Scottish insurrection of 17 1 5, which perhaps prevented 
a renewal of hostilities on the Continent. 

The long reign of Louis XIV. came to an end in 
September, 171 5. His successor was a child of six 
years old, and the regency was in the hands of the 
Duke of Orleans. Now this person, a very scandalous 
and profligate man, was strongly convinced that his 
own interests and the interests of France required that 
the relations between France and England should be 
as amicable as possible. Hence as the same counsels 
prevailed in England, peace was maintained in Europe 
for a considerable time, and there seemed every pros- 
pect that there would be nothing but peaceful rivalry 
among the nations. 

They who have studied the history of Holland trace 
the decline of the nation to the events which followed 
on the War of the Spanish Succession. The old 
spirit had, they say, been exhausted in the Republic. 



The Dutch were no longer disposed to emulate the 
military endurance of their forefathers, such as it had 
been during the greater part of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, or the heroism on sea of Heemskerk, Tromp, and 
De Ruyter. A nation of heroes had been turned, it 
was alleged, into a nation of pedlars. The general 
assembly of the States in 17 16, they allege, proved 
that Dutch courage and enterprise had wofully de- 
clined, and that Holland was soon to forfeit the 
exalted reputation she had 
acquired. And yet for two 
generations and more after 
this event, commercial Hol- 
land was the envy and ad- 
miration of other European 
nations, and the causes of 
Dutch prosperity were care 
fully and perhaps invidiously 

The constitution of the 
Republic was, and always 
had been, one of the most 
unmanageable conceivable. 
The several States constituting the United Provinces 
were all free and all equal. The theory of what Ame- 
ricans call, or used to call, State rights was pushed 
to extreme lengths, and nothing but a common in- 
terest in resisting a common danger could have pre- 
served unity of action among the separate members. 
The Republic was, in fact, a loosely united association, 
the several contingents of which acted separately for 
many purposes, and in common for two objects only 



—political safety and trade. The contribution which 
each should make to the common expenses of govern- 
ment was a matter of arrangement, but the several 
States were not always ready to abide by the compact, 
and often threatened to stand aloof at a crisis. It is 
remarkable that so flimsy a union should have held 
together at all, and it is not strange that the most 
vigorous and successful of the stadtholders desired 
nothing so much as the opportunity of arresting these 
tendencies to disintegration which were always vexa- 
tious and sometimes threatening. 

Generally the progress of the Stadtholder was from 
the influence which he acquired in the lesser States 
to the maintenance of his authority over the larger, 
especially Holland, and he often found it or thought 
it necessary to put down popular institutions in the 
smaller States in order to prepare himself for a 
struggle with the elements of resistance in the larger. 
For during the struggle between the monarchical 
influence of the Stadtholder and the distrust and 
resistance of the republicans, the mass of the people 
were generally on the side of the house of Orange, 
while the principal burghers and merchants formed 
the strength of the Republican party. Unlike what 
has happened in other countries, the populace was 
on the side of monarchy, that which was practically 
the aristocracy, on that of democratic government. 

By far the largest part of the wealth and power of 
the United Provinces was centred in the State of 
Holland, and in the city of Amsterdam. Important 
as the success of the movement would be to the 
fortunes of the Republic, William found the greatest 


difficulty in winning the assent of the Amsterdam 
burghers to the expedition of 1688. After the death 
of William, and the re-establishment of the Republic 
without a Stadtholder, the State of Holland took the 
lead in the conduct of affairs ; and till 1720, when he 
died, Heinsius, the friend of William, and the Pen- 
sionary, was practically the ruler of the Provinces 
from 1689. But though the State of Holland had 
made great sacrifices, the smaller States were jealous 
of it, and were untiring in their efforts to break down 
its supremacy. The best way in which this could be 
done was to restore the Stadtholder. 

Now at William's death he recognized as his heir 
one John William Friso, the Stadtholder of Friesland 
and Groningen, and these two States proposed that 
their Stadtholder should be appointed general of the 
infantry in 1 704, though he was still very young. But 
his claims to represent the house of Orange was con- 
tested by the Brandenburg family, who afterwards 
became kings of Prussia, and though the Provinces 
at last agreed that John William should be a general 
of the Dutch army, the State of Holland proposed, 
and apparently succeeded in their contention, that all 
the provinces should take oath that they would pre- 
serve the union without a Stadtholder. In 171 1 John 
William was drowned, and a posthumous son of his, 
William Charles Henry, was born. Under these cir- 
cumstances, the rights of this branch of the house of 
Orange being disputed, and one of the competitors 
being an infant, the question of the stadtholderate slept. 
The claims of the king of Prussia were indirectly, but 
practically, surrendered at the treaty of Utrecht. 


In 1722 the partisans of the boy, now eleven years 
old, urged that he should be elected Stadtholder of the 
United Provinces, with the object, as I have suggested, 
of breaking down the supremacy of Holland, and 
especially of Amsterdam. But the attempt was 
premature, and William was for some time merely 
Stadtholder of Guelderland, and with very limited 
powers. There was, however, no doubt that most of 
the European monarchs were sincerely anxious that 
the Dutch Republic should have an hereditary chief. 
The success and opulence of free institutions was dis- 
tasteful in their eyes, and it was pretty obvious that if 
Holland could have a monarch thrust on them, and 
be entangled in the European system, the menace 
of a free government wedged in between two absolute 
monarchies would soon cease to be a danger. 

Shortly after the treaties of Utrecht and Rastadt, 
by which what had formerly been the Spanish 
Netherlands came into the possession of the house of 
Austria, the emperor, Charles VI., once the pretender 
to the Spanish crown, granted commissions to Ostend 
traders, empowering them to carry on commerce with 
the East Indies. These commissions were eagerly 
accepted by private individuals, both in England and 
Holland, who under the name of interlopers, strove 
to appropriate a portion of the trade which had 
hitherto been the monopoly under State guarantees of 
the Dutch and English companies. These companies 
had, at great expense, built factories, established 
relations with native powers, and acquired a trade, 
and it seemed not a little unjust that traders who had 
incurred no such expense, should reap the fruits of 


other people's labours. Remonstrances addressed to 
Charles were of no avail, the grievance and the loss 
continued, the English Government forbade English 
subjects from accepting commissions from a foreign 
Power for trading to the East Indies, and the Dutch 
adopted similar measures. In 1722 Charles of 
Austria went further. He granted a charter of in- 
corporation to the Ostend East India Company, with 
a capital of six million florins, and the trade of 
Holland and England is said to have been seriously 

Now this proceeding was denounced by the United 
Provinces as a plain infraction of the provisions 
contained in the treaty of Munster, under which the 
King of Spain bound himself that none of his 
subjects should sail from Europe to India, and that 
as the emperor had succeeded to the King of Spain 
in the Netherlands and Southern Italy, he was bound 
by the conditions under which his predecessor was 
limited. The English argued, that by the treaty of 
Madrid in 1670, their merchants were admitted to all 
the advantages which the Dutch enjoyed under the 
treaty of Munster, and that the English Government 
was justified in suppressing this trade. They followed 
up their remonstrance by an Act of Parliament, under 
which serious pecuniary penalties were to be levied 
on all British subjects who subscribed to the Ostend 
Company, and such, persons as were detected in India 
without the license of the English Company were 
made liable to imprisonment and corporal chastise- 
ment at the discretion of the East India Company's 


These severe restraints of trade in the interests of 
a monopoly granted by the state are interesting as 
they indicate what was, in the opinion of the age, the 
safest and most continuous source of national wealth. 
But, in the end, the English East India Company 
paid its dividends out of its conquests and lost by its 
trade, and the ruin of the Bank of Amsterdam was 
effected by the loans which it made to the Dutch 
East India Company, whose trade was conducted on 
even more vicious and costly principles than that oi 
its English rival was. The Dutch conquests and the 
administration of its territory in the last did indeed 
supply Holland a revenue and does so still. The 
career of the two companies has been similar. 

After an existence of nine years the Ostend 
Company was abolished, not because Charles acknow- 
ledged that in creating it he had violated the treaty 
law of Europe, but because he wished to get the 
assent of the various European Powers to the 
Pragmatic Sanction, under which the inheritance of 
his German dominions was to be secured to his only 
daughter, Maria Theresa, and, as he fondly hoped, the 
German Empire to her husband. The historian of 
Holland is forced to admit that in their eagerness to 
get rid of a rival, the Dutch allowed themselves to 
be again involved in European dynastic complications 
in which they had no interest, and that the gain was 
not worth the risk. 

Between 171 8 and 1720 France and England were 
the scene of the wildest speculation, and the unac- 
countable madness of the trading classes in the two 
kingdoms has been the natural object of comment 


by all those who have treated of the facts. The 
proximate cause of this speculation was the attempts 
of the several governments to relieve themselves in 
part from the annual burden caused by the dynastic 
wars in which Europe had been engaged. The 
Dutch had laid a tax of the hundredth penny on 
their own public funds (although it was alleged that 
this was only a disguised repudiation) for three years. 
The Regent of France began by debasing the currency, 
then commenced the issue of paper money, then 
intrusted his bank to Law, who became a Papist in 
order to secure the public confidence, and finally 
issued unlimited paper on the security of the Mississipi 
project. The collapse and ruin of this project did 
not deter Englishmen from a similar madness. The 
South Sea Company had procured the contract for 
the importation of negroes into America, and had 
guaranteed the conversion of certain 6 per cent. 
Government stocks into a 5 per cent. The success 
of this expedient, in which the Company's intervention 
was found unnecessary, induced the Government to 
attempt the conversion of all the public stock into 
joint stock capital. The directors of the Company 
took it, puffed it, profited by it, and the thing 
collapsed. There was no public frenzy in Holland, 
but many Dutchmen ventured on Law's scheme and 
the South Sea project, and suffered accordingly. 

In 1729, after a vain attempt two years before to 
capture Gibraltar, the treaty of Madrid was concluded 
between Great Britain, France, and Spain as con- 
siderable Powers, with the object of maintaining, by 
force if necessary, the provisions of the treaty of 


Utrecht. To this treaty the States-General were 
invited to give their assent, to which they agreed. 
Under the stipulations of the treaty, the States- 
General were to keep on foot a very moderate force 
for the guarantee, were to obtain the entire abolition 
of the Ostend Company, full compensation for all 
their losses and grievances, and commercial privileges 
on the most favoured nation principle. In the same 
year the Dutch East India Company was continued 
for twenty-one years, on payment of three and a half 
million guilders to the States treasury. 

Amsterdam was still the centre of European trade 
and exchange, and its bank was still the object of 
admiration and envy. The growth of the English 
mercantile marine necessitated the payment of 
large sums through Amsterdam. The corn trade 
was by the tradition of Dutch commerce centered in 
Amsterdam. Dealings in public funds had become 
a recognized branch of investment and speculation, 
and transactions in these securities were generally 
carried out at Amsterdam, to whose bank remit- 
tances due for interest were sent. The English 
Government of the day, whose policy was vigorously 
attacked, though later times have borne testimony to 
the financial abilities and pacific policy of Walpole, 
was obliged to give its reasons for the fact that the 
exchange was generally against England and in favour 
of Holland. It was still the great trading mart of 
the world. 

The fire of religious persecution was not yet 
extinct The Protestants of Savoy were still being 
harried, and the Archbishop of Salzburg, one of the 



German prince bishops, was enforcing the gospel by 
fire and sword against his subjects and spiritual sons. 
Secure in his castle built on the great rock which 
dominates the whole valley in which this town lies, 
the prince prelate enforced his spiritual counsel by 
occasional cannonades, and by a torture chamber duly 
furnished in the stronghold. Naturally enough, the 
Savoyards and Salzburgers fled, and Holland welcomed 
them. The former could not, however, like most 
people of the mountains, 
bear the flats, the canals., 
and dykes of Holland, 
and returned, preferring 
the risks of persecution. 
Meantime, Benedict XIII. 
put out a service in ho- 
nour of Gregory VII., and 
his excommunication of 
Henry IV., Emperor of 
Germany. The Dutch, 
now entirely tolerant, for- 
bade the reading of this 
service within the States, 
and in order to check Jesuit intrigues, to which the 
rite was undoubtedly due, encouraged the settlement 
of a Jansenist archbishop at Utrecht. This church 
still subsists. 

But a greater danger than the Jesuits and the Bull 
unigenitus, which they had got from the Pope, was 
threatening Holland. In 1732 it was found that the 
ships from the East had carried with them a curious 
shell fish, which has a habit of boring into wood and 



even into stone of moderate hardness. The Pholas 
has a shell which is armed with a saw, by which it is 
able to carve out a habitation for itself, and effectually 
destroy the timber or stone in which it carves. It 
had attacked the timbers on which the dykes of 
Amsterdam, and indeed of Holland, depended for 
their very existence, and threatened to do what Alva, 
and Parma, and Spinola, and Louis could not effect. 
It was discovered in good time, and the dykes were 
strengthened with flint and granite, materials too 
hard for the jaws or the shells of the Pholas. But the 
consternation which Holland experienced in 1732) 
was as great as that of sixty years before, and was as 
happily averted, though not at such a cost. 

The Republic had to fight against the constant 
risks of the angry sea, against shell fish which its own 
trade had unwittingly imported, against the greedy 
monarchs of Spain and France, against the jealous 
merchants of England, against the intrigues of the 
kings with whom the Orange family had allied itself, 
kings who had strong family feelings against the 
people who have permitted them to rule. For the 
European kings have never scrupled to despoil each 
other, and are always ready to unite together, in order 
to oppress those who would keep them in check, or 
resent their tyranny. And now came the beginning 
of the end. Holland, despite its heroic efforts after 
freedom, despite the wise self-denial of William the 
Silent, and the hesitation of Maurice, was to be 
handed over to hereditary monarchy, and the vulgari- 
ties it implies. 

In earlier days the sympathy of the poorer Dutch- 


men with the house of Orange was partly hereditary 
gratitude, partly disgust at the arrogance of the 
mercantile and manufacturing oligarchy of the towns. 
It is an inherent vice with most of those who raise 
themselves in life, that they are more harsh and severe 
to the class from which they have sprung than those are 
who have been born and brought up in more affluent 
circumstances. Set a capitalist who has been a 
labourer over workmen, and he is the most intolerant 
of employers, as a rule. And it is plain that Dutch- 
men, who had become rich out of nothing, became 
sharp to the ordinary burgher. The evidence is clear 
enough, though I cannot tell it here, for lack of space. 
In 1733 the Prince of Orange married Anne, the 
eldest daughter of George the Second of England. 
There was no doubt that there was many an honest 
Dutchwoman who said on this occasion, as a Scotch- 
woman of Argyleshire is reported to have said not 
long ago, on the occasion of a similar marriage — " Ah ! 
the Queen of England must be a proud woman to day 
when she has married her daughter to our prince." The 
States-General remonstrated, hinted that they ought 
to be consulted when one of their principal subjects 
marries into a foreign royal house, were snubbed for 
their pains, were assured that the English monarch 
would protect the integrity of Holland, and had 
to acquiesce. They foresaw that they would be 
entangled in those Qerman interests which, with the 
English King George the Second, were far more 
important than those of the country which had 
adopted him, and had raised him from a petty German 
potentate to one of the first thrones in Europe. If 


George cared very little for England when Hanover 
was concerned, he was pretty sure to care even less 
for Holland. But the Republic which had committed 
the error of giving a guarantee, in order to get rid of 
the Ostend Company, soon found they had gone too 
far to recede. 




The Dutch, as my reader remembers, had won their 
freedom from Spain. At one time there was good 
reason to believe that they would have won, with their 
own, the freedom of the whole of those Netherlands, 
which had been, less than three centuries before, the 
collective inheritance of the house of Burgundy. 
Had the life of William the Silent been prolonged, it 
might have been the case that this great result would 
have happened, and that the first industrial Power in 
Europe would have been a series of federated republics 
and cities, in which true principles of government and 
a just regard for all national interests would have 
been maintained. Now I think there are few less 
profitable speculations than a discussion as to what 
would have happened had the life of this or that 
public man been prolonged. William was murdered 
by a hired assassin ; but even before this crime was 
committed, the inveterate vice of the Netherlands — 
mutual jealousy and the want of political cohesion — 
left them an easy prey to the great and wicked men 


whom Philip sent against them. The Council of 
Blood destroyed all aspirants after national liberty, 
and all who were suspected of any leaning towards 
the Reformed faith. It is a mistake to say that per- 
secution will not destroy a creed. If it be quite 
systematic and entirely unscrupulous it can utterly 
extinguish a creed. It did so with Protestantism in 
Flanders, France, Spain, Austria, and Bohemia. It 
did so with the Roman religion in Sweden, in Den- 
mark, in much of North Germany. The Dutch and 
the Flemish nations were severed by the Inquisition, 
and the arts of diplomacy have been unable to unite 

Now there are three European nations which have 
always been at variance, at least as long as one of 
them was in fighting trim, and since that time the 
remaining two have been perpetually quarrelling. 
The three were France, Spain, and the German 
Empire, the last for a time identified with the house of 
Austria, and within our own experience with that of 
Prussia. For a long time the struggle was principally 
between France and Spain, till, in the end, Spain was 
entirely exhausted, and became of little account in 
the councils of Europe. Then all the efforts ol 
France, and all the military purposes of her kings and 
rulers, were devoted towards crippling the house of 
Austria. Later on, and quite recently, France tried 
conclusions with a new German power, and was 
considerably surprised at the result. It is not easy to 
say whether, in these later days, her old passion for 
an enlarged frontier has passed away, and she is 
prepared to accept the present situation. 


Now it will be remembered that at the Treaty of 
Utrecht, which purported to go on the same lines with 
the famous Peace of Munster or Westphalia, the boun- 
daries of the several European states were generally 
settled. Some changes, to be sure, were made, one of 
which was of great significance to Holland. The 
Spanish Netherlands were transferred to Austria, and 
a country which France always eagerly coveted was 
given to a sovereign who had enough to do to hold 
his own in Germany, and would find it difficult to 
defend his new acquisition. France had already, as 
the Dutch too well knew, got a foothold in the 
Netherlands by the acquisition of Dunkirk, and had 
winked at or encouraged its becoming a nest of 
pirates. The demolition of the fortifications of 
Dunkirk was a capital point in the negotiations for a 
peace. The Dutch were supposed to be defended by 
a series of forts in Flemish territory, called barrier 
towns, which they garrisoned. But on the west, for 
all this, they had the French nation, always eager to 
extend its frontier on the east, at the expense of 
Austria, and on the east they had the Prussian 
kingdom, which at a time, when the opinion was 
current that kings succeeded by inheritance to nations, 
just as though they were cows or sheep, claimed in a 
vague way the succession to the stadtholder's office, 
though for ,a time the Prussian ruler had been put oft 
with a compensation. y 

Now the Emperor of Germany, of the house of 
Austria, Charles VI. , was the person on whose behalf 
the English and Dutch had waged the war of the 
Spanish succession from the year 1702 till the year 


354 DOWN HILL,, 

171 3. In 171 1 he became Emperor of Germany on 
the unexpected death of his brother Joseph, who left 
behind him daughters, his only son having died. 
Charles had a son who died young, and a daughter, 
Maria Theresa, who married Francis of Lorraine and 
afterwards of Tuscany. Every effort was made by 
the emperor to get the various European Powers to 
acknowledge what goes in history by the name of 
the Pragmatic Sanction, a decree of the emperor 
under which the Austrian inheritance was declared 
to descend to the females of his line. One by one, 
and for this or that reason, the several Powers agreed 
to abide by this new line of succession, the commonest 
plea, one by the way which the French Government 
put prominently forward, being that such a line of 
policy would preserve that balance of power in 
Europe, which it was the object of the great treaties 
to affirm and maintain. 

Among the nations which agreed to accept and 
support the Pragmatic Sanction was the Dutch. 
Charles, as I have already said, approached them on 
their weak side, the Ostend Company, and agreed to 
suppress it, as the price of their acquiescence in his 
favourite project. Here then were the Hollanders, 
who had been successfully resisting the dynastic 
claims of the house of Orange against themselves, 
agreeing to a new departure in Germany, and willing 
to risk their lives, their trade, and their wealth in 
a family arrangement from which they could get no 
possible benefit whatever. It is not, I think, too 
much to say, that had the Dutch stood entirely aloof 
in the war of the Austrian succession, and not suf- 


fered themselves to be embroiled in it, the Republic 
would have been saved, and though it might not have 
been possible to have resisted revolutionary France, 
it would not have collapsed so ignominiously as it 
did. During the disputes about the slave trade 
with the Spanish colonies, Holland had contrived 
to preserve her neutrality, though Dutch interests 
were so universal that no two nations could quarrel 
without Amsterdam suffering some heavy pecuniary 

One of the German princes, the Elector of Bavaria, 
had persistently refused to accept the Pragmatic 
Sanction. He had some reason on his side, for he 
had married a daughter of the Emperor Joseph, elder 
brother of Charles VI., and if female claims were to 
be admitted, had, from a modern point of view, a 
better claim than his wife's cousin possessed. He 
became emperor under the title of Charles VIL, but 
only reigned three years. Charles VI. died in 
October 1740, and his successor was elected two 
years afterwards. 

Now every one who has read German history, and 
in particular that of the house of Prussia, knows that 
just about the time that Charles VI. died there suc- 
ceeded to the Prussian throne a king who is called 
Frederic the Great, perhaps because he broke his word 
about the succession of Maria Theresa, and took 
advantage of her defenceless condition to lay waste 
and annex part of her dominions. The story of how 
gallantly the Queen of Hungary defended herself, 
and how Frederic had to suffer a good many reverses 
before he could actually get secure possession of what 


he coveted, is told in the histories, and does not 
concern us. Holland, which had a good deal to lose 
and nothing to gain, kept its word, however unwisely 
it was given ; and agreed to find the queen a force of 
20,000 men, though some of the States remonstrated, 
because the Austrian Government had not extin- 
guished the Ostend Company. But Holland was 
dragged into the struggle, and in the end suffered 
more than any of the combatants, for she lost her 
liberty, surrendering it to an hereditary stadt- 
holder, and came out of the war simply crippled by 

The King of England eagerly took the part of the 
Austrian queen. The French Government took the 
side of the King of Prussia. But the war was one of 
cross purposes. England engaged with France, but 
did not attack Prussia, and Maria Theresa fought 
against Bavaria and Prussia. The English won the 
battle of Dettingen, and the French supplied Charles 
Edward, known as the young Pretender, with means 
for invading England. Then when Charles VII. died 
at the beginning of the year 1745, and the husband 
of Maria Theresa was elected emperor, a peace was 
patched up with Prussia, and England and Holland 
were left to carry on the war with France. The war 
was transferred to the Netherlands, and one after the 
other the French army captured the Flemish towns. In 
May, 1745, occurred the battle of Fontenoy, in which 
the French gained a victory, and the Dutch suffered 
severely. Loss soon followed upon loss, and the 
Dutch became eager for peace, the more so as the 
original reason for which war was undertaken had 


ceased to operate, since the Queen of Hungary had 
become Empress of Germany. But though the Dutch 
desired peace the English desired war, and George 
of England wished to thrust his son-in-law into an 
hereditary position. In 1747 Holland was invaded, 
and scenes like those of 1672 was threatened. The 
Orange party, always most active in the midst of 
national disaster, insisted on William IV. being made 
Stadtholder. Zeland proclaimed him, and soon the 
whole seven provinces elected him. Advantage was 
taken of the situation to propose that his office 
should be made hereditary, and this proposal was 

Holland now ceased to be a republic in anything 
but name. The States were still High Mightinesses, 
and, as far as phrases went, were still the powers 
which had carried the little State through all her 
perils, and made her friendship of account at every 
European Court. But all the real power which the 
magistrates wielded was taken away, and transferred 
to the Stadtholder, who with the functions of 
royalty, took upon him no little of its state and 
emblems. The debt and taxation of Holland were 
enormous and crushing. The Peace of Aix-la- 
Chapelle was signed in October, 1748, and Holland 
was left exhausted. The Dutch Republic was at an 

To my mind the Struggle of the Hollanders for 
their liberties is as instructive, as heroic, and as 
important as that of Athens against Persia, and was 
vastly more prolonged. The issue of the strife was of 
the most profound significance to Europe. It sue- 



cessfully contravened the divine right of kings, and 
as successfully vindicated the principle triat the creed 
of a nation, and next of individuals, is a matter of 
their own choice and their own conscience. To me, 
whenever I visit it, the Square of the Binnenhof at the 
Hague is the holiest spot in modern Europe, for here 
the great deliverance was wrought out. But there 
still remains the sequel of the story, which must be 
briefly told. 



Perhaps, if the life of William IV. had been pro- 
longed, mischievously subject as Holland became to 
British policy during the war which was concluded 
by the Peace of Aix - la - Chapelle in 1748, the 
country, though it would have necessarily fallen far 
behind its ancient vigour and reputation, might have 
to a large extent recovered. William IV., though a 
very ordinary person, and invested with powers which 
he speedily extended, such as those of chief director 
and governor of the East and West India Com- 
panies, was sincerely anxious to promote or restore 
the prosperity of his country, and had at least the 
wisdom to know that the show of arbitrary power was 
more dangerous than the possession of it. Nor was 
William, raised to office at the conclusion of one war, 
anxious to consolidate his authority by sacrificing 
the interests of Holland and provoking another war. 
Hence the memory of William IV. is respected in 
Holland to a degree which neither the length of his 


reign, nor the capacity which he exhibited at all 
justify. He died in 175 1, at the age of forty, after he 
had held his office, now made hereditary, for only four 
years. He left an only son, afterwards William V., 
then only three years old, and a daughter. His 
widow, Anne of England, became regent under the 
title of Governess, and the Duke of Brunswick was 
continued as commander-in-chief, an office conferred 
on him by William IV. when his own health was 
breaking. Perhaps the misfortunes and miseries of 
the next epoch have been a benefit to the memory 
of William IV. 

Of course, Anne of England, the Governess, during 
the time that she lived and had the management of 
affairs, did her very best to make the hereditary 
stadtholderate an irrevocable situation, and, indeed, the 
Dutch, once high-spirited and jealous of their liberties? 
seem to have vied with nations, in which servility is a 
tradition, in fulsome adulation of the house of Orange 
and the young prince. One of her projects, in which 
she succeeded after some opposition, was to make the 
councils in the towns the nominees of the Orange party. 
She died in January, 1759, when her son was eleven 
years old, and at the time of her death was deser- 
vedly distrusted and disliked. The cause of this 
feeling was the incessant attacks she made on what 
remained of the Dutch constitution, and her obvious 
sacrifice of Dutch to English interests during the 
Seven Years' War. 

The object of this war was to determine which of 
the two countries, France or Great Britain, should 
succeed in obtaining a sole market in the Eastern and 


Western Worlds. The contest, in brief, was for North 
America and India, and for some time the issue was 
doubtful. Now it was of no consequence whatever 
to Holland which side should win in the struggle, if 
indeed the success of either country boded any good 
to Dutch trade. The English envoy, Yorke, claimed 
a subsidy from the Dutch, and the French envoy, 
D'Affry, was equally positive that, according to the 
faith of treaties, Holland was bound to assist the 
French. The Governess, of course, was on the side of 
the English envoy. But she could not induce the 
States to take part in the war. All she could do was 
to leave Holland in as defenceless a state as possible, 
and to connive at the enormous injuries which British 
privateers inflicted on Dutch shipping. 

One of the objects which the advocates of the sole- 
market theory had, was to destroy the commerce of 
their rivals. Now the English Government, which 
was rapidly becoming the principal; if not the only, 
maritime power of Europe, resolved to stop all trade 
with France, not only between that country and its 
own subjects, but between France and all other 
nations, defining contraband in such a way as to cover 
nearly all goods, and insisting on the right of search. 
These large powers were conferred, according to the 
policy of the time, on privateers, between whom and 
pirates there was only a metaphysical distinction. In a 
short time the trade of Holland was nearly ruined by 
these pirates, and the elder Pitt, who wished to cripple 
France, and drag Holland into his war, encouraged 
the wrong-doers. Perhaps at no time in its history 
were more outrageous injuries perpetrated on a 


neutral nation than those which the Dutch suffered 
from the English during the time of the elder Pitt's 
administration. These privateers' crews pillaged 
the ships of the Dutch companies who were trading 
to the Dutch colonies, on the plea that they might be 
carrying French goods. The Peace of Paris in 1763 
gave the Dutch some breathing time, but in the same 
year a formidable commercial panic, attended with 
numerous bankruptcies, occurred in Amsterdam. 

The peace of 1763 virtually secured to Great 
Britain what she entered on the war to gain, a sole 
market. The French were almost entirely expelled 
from India, and were left a feeble power in North 
America. But the success of the struggle brought 
about the ruin of the policy which it had established. 
As long as the French held possession of the Mis- 
sissipi, and could connect their southern and northern 
settlements by a chain of forts, and adequate com- 
munications, they were a natural source of alarm to 
the British plantations in the New World, and the 
necessity of British defence was a guarantee of colonial 
loyalty. But as soon as ever the danger was removed, 
the only power which the American Colonies had to 
fear was the British Government, and as is well-known, 
that government soon gave occasion for a quarrel, ths 
outcome of which was American independence, and 
the overthrow of the sole-market theory. It is true 
that the elder Pitt was opposed to the scheme for 
taxing the Colonies. But the expenditure of his wars 
had left British finance in a desperate condition, and 
had made the Colonies a nation. I cannot predict, 
had the Stamp Act not been imposed, and the Boston 


Mohawks had not been called on to resist the tea duty, 
how long these colonies would have acquiesced in 
dependence. But I am pretty sure that as soon as 
ever a colony can hold its own, the tie to the mother 
country is inevitably weak, and will bear no strain. 

The time when the young Stadtholder, William V., 
came to his majority was eagerly welcomed. The 
Dutch still believed in the house of Orange, and 
anticipated, in their own words, that the prince would 
" fill the place of those immortal heroes who for two 
centuries," &c. He was eighteen years of age when 
this prophecy was uttered. Perhaps there never lived 
a man who more completely falsified expectations than 
William V. did. He was totally deficient in reso- 
lution, indeed in any character, and the faults of his 
nature were studiously accentuated, it was believed, 
by the ignorance of all public affairs in which his 
guardian, Louis of Brunswick, had brought him up. 
To this person he entirely deferred — with him he 
could do little, without him he could do nothing. He 
soon (1767) married a princess of Prussia, a woman of 
great ability, but entirely indifferent to Dutch in- 
terests. Subject to her and to the Duke of Brunswick, 
William soon merited the distrust, and finally the 
contempt, of the people whose great history he was 
to bring to so disgraceful a conclusion. Already 
Holland had become impotent. 

Twelve years after the Peace of Paris, the War of 
American Independence broke out. The Stadtholder 
of course wanted the States to take the side of the 
English, and thus repudiate the very principles to 
which they owed their own independence. But 


Holland had now accepted a hereditary sovereign, 
and hereditary sovereigns always constitute them- 
selves the judges of a difference between their people 
and themselves. The Dutch had reversed that doctrine > 
and now a section of the English race was following 
their example. She could not therefore take the 
English side. In consequence, the English Govern- 
ment revived the old practice of piracy, under the 
name of privateering, made prize of Dutch ships 
sailing to French and Spanish ports, though no war 
had been declared with either country, and informed 
the Dutch Government, that if the States, in order to 
protect their own commerce, increased their naval 
force, they would treat the action as one of hostility. 
As an Englishman, I am heartily ashamed of telling 
the story. It is one of undisguised tyranny, violence, 
oppression, practised by a strong on a weak state, in 
which the head of the latter was a traitor to his 
country's best interests. In 1779, the English com- 
mander, Fielding, captured the Dutch mercantile 
fleet, with four Dutch men-of-war; and in 1780, Yorke, 
the English ambassador at the Hague, demanded 
subsidies from the States, whom his government had 
just before plundered. 

By this time, however, the English Government had 
overstrained the patience of all other nations. It was 
seen that, unless some steps were taken, England 
would put herself effectively into the position which 
Philip II. had very ineffectually assumed, and declare 
that the three oceans belonged to her, and to her only, 
and that, commerce on the part of any other people 
must depend on her will. Hence Catherine II. of 



Russia, formulated the celebrated agreement, known 
as the "Armed Neutrality," in 1780. It was joined by 
all the principal states of Europe. Every effort was 
made by the English to bring about the exclusion of 
the Dutch from this alliance, and in this they were of 
course assisted by the Stadtholder. The Dutch 
hesitated, but in the end resolved. In 1780, England 
declared war on Holland, and severed a connection 
which had lasted for more than two centuries. 




The entire indifference of the Stadtholder to national 
interests, and the declaration of war, with the great 
losses which followed on hostilities, led to the develop- 
ment of the party of "Patriots" in Holland. The 
framers and advocates of the " Armed Neutrality," it 
is true, took no steps to defend that country on which 
the brunt of the contest fell. Nay, many of the 
Powers treated them with less favour than they did 
the English. Probably they hoped to succeed to some 
of the Dutch possessions, and to all its trade. If 
so, the English were beforehand with them, for they 
attacked the Dutch possessions in the West Indies, at 
the Cape, and in India, before the rupture was known. 
The spirits of the Dutch was a little raised by the 
indecisive naval engagement of the Doggerbank in 
1 78 1. Peace was effected in 1783, but on disadvan- 
tageous terms to Holland. 

Meanwhile the Patriots had compelled the Duke of 
Brunswick to relinquish his authority in the States, 


and the Orange faction was greatly depressed. Day 
by day, the wretched Stadtholder lost character and 
influence with his unfortunate countrymen, while the 
Dutch contrasted the present condition of the States 
with that which it occupied during the two centuries 
of heroism of which she had fondly anticipated that 
William would be a present exemplar. The Patriots 
began to resume that authority over the councils of 
which the Senates had been deprived, and to revive 
the local guard, under the name of " schuttery," which 
had been all but disbanded by the Stadtholder, 
William complaining that his prerogative was being 
invaded. In this crisis, the King of Prussia interfered, 
to protect the interests of his niece and her husband, 
and though the interference came to little more than 
an angry protest, the Dutch learnt anew how wise 
their forefathers were, when more than a century 
before, they suspected what would ensue if their 
Stadtholder allied himself with the reigning houses of 

In 1783 the Dutch were attacked by Joseph II., 
Emperor of Austria, It was owing to their efforts 
that the Belgian Netherlands had been taken from 
Spain, and made over to Austria under the treaty of 
Utrecht. But Joseph, rightly interpreting the finan- 
cial position of Holland, and seeing how discredited 
the Stadtholder's government was, determined to take 
advantage of the situation to wrest the navigation of 
the Scheldt from the Dutch, and secure himself, if he 
pleased, an easy entry into Holland. In 1784, war 
seemed impending, and the States made some effort 
to enlist soldiers, and to collect army stores. But the 


emperor's threat came to nothing. The house of 
Austria has always depended for its existence on 
foreign alliances and foreign subsidies, and Joseph 
was not popular with other European governments. 
He therefore patched up a peace with the States, the 
principal condition of which was that the Dutch 
should pay him some money. 

The Patriot or States party was meanwhile in- 
creasingly hostile to the unpopular Stadtholder, and 
set to work to deprive him of all the prerogatives 
which he had usurped, and even of those which the 
States had granted, forty years before, to his father. 
Certain members of the national party having been 
insulted by the Orange mob at the Hague, and Wil- 
liam having connived at the disorder, the States took 
away from him the command of the Hague garrison, 
and on his threatening never to return to the seat of 
government, unless his rights were restored, adhered 
to their resolution. As they had taken this step, they 
went further, and in particular at Amsterdam, re- 
sumed those military and naval functions which had 
been previously ceded to the Stadtholder. 

The power of the Stadtholder was gradually being 
curtailed, and his only chance of his retaining a 
shadow of it was in the strength of the Orange party, 
and in what was virtually civil war, the forcible re- 
straint of malcontents. The States answered his 
action by deposing y him from his office of Captain- 
General. It is true that, under the pretence of me- 
diation, the sovereigns of England, of Prussia, and 
even of France, counselled moderation in the crisis, 
and perhaps had the advice of the French ambas- 



sador, Rayneval, been accepted, an accommodation 
might have followed. But the Prussian wife of Wil- 
liam was obstinate, and demanded that the States 
should abandon the position which they had taken 
up. This was out of the question, and the breach 
became wider, the Stadtholder being held up to the 
public execration of his fellow countrymen as an un- 
faithful minister, " whose heart was as corrupt as his 
mind was narrow." The States made his property 
liable to land-tax, examined his accounts and allow- 
ances, and substituted the arms of the States for those 
of the house of Orange in public documents, on the 
regimental colours, and even on furniture. 

But while it was comparatively easy to circum- 
scribe the powers of the Stadtholder, and even to 
reduce him to the position of first citizen in the Re- 
public or less, it was not easy to reconstruct the con- 
stitution of the Republic. There were leaders of the 
popular party who thought that enough had been 
done ; there were others who wished to put the con- 
stitution on a more popular basis ; there were others 
who desired to proscribe the whole Orange party, 
to make the use of its party cries and party emblems 
a capital offence, even to prohibit the exhibition of 
orange-coloured flowers, and the sale of carrots, un- 
less the roots were decently hidden. And, above all, 
the smaller states became jealous of Holland, and 
seemed inclined to retrace their steps. The Stadt- 
holder thought his opportunity was come, and began 
civil war in 1787. 

On the plea that an insult had been offered to his 
sister, who had been prevented from stirring up the 


Orange party at the Hague, the King of Prussia now 
took part in the war, and invaded Holland. Utrecht 
was abandoned, and the Stadtholder was restored to 
his full authority. Amsterdam was besieged and 
capitulated. Even the English Whigs expressed their 
satisfaction at the result. The Patriot party seemed 
to be extinguished. The Dutch were under English 
influence, and the French Government was accused 
of bad faith and poltroonery. The leaders of the 
Patriots were declared incapable of serving their 
country hereafter, and every one was constrained to 
wear the Orange badge. 

I have given these wearisome and miserable details 
of misgovernment and abortive attempts at reform, 
because they form a necessary prelude to the events 
which followed. In 1789 the French constitution 
was remodelled, and, for a time, good and wise men 
rejoiced over the reform of what had become the 
most detestable government in Europe. The Stadt- 
holder's son contracted a fresh alliance with the house 
of Prussia ; but Holland took no part in the League 
of Pilnitz, a league which was to prove so disastrous 
to the States which joined it, when they forced revo- 
lutionary France to act on the defensive, and finally 
justified its reprisals. The Stadtholder, of course, 
as soon as possible joined the alliance of the Euro- 
pean sovereigns. But the Patriots determined to wel- 
come the French. The winter of 1794-95 gave them 
the wished-for opportunity. The Stadtholder fled to 
England, and the Dutch revolution was effected. 

It is very possible that many of those who formed 
and developed the French revolution were men of 


high purposes and patriotic ends. But France was 
bankrupt, its finance aggravated the mischief, and at 
first, constrained to defend itself, and then led to ag- 
gressive war, it naturally made war support itself. The 
Dutch paid dearly for the revenge which they took 
on William. Their trade was ruined, their com- 
mercial integrity violently destroyed, their resources 
squandered for objects which did not concern them, 
their colonies wrested from them. They were erected 
into a kingdom, dependent on the French Empire, 
and ruled by one of Napoleon's brothers. In 18 13 
came a counter revolution, when Holland, despairing 
of republican institutions, resolved to accept a limited 
monarchy. It was perhaps impossible, in the existing 
temper of European governments, to adopt any other 
course. When Europe was remodelled, at the final 
termination of the great continental war, Belgium was 
added to Holland, and the principle of the Ghent 
pacification was temporarily enforced by the authority 
of Europe. Holland recovered most of her depen- 

These had been temporarily occupied by the Eng- 
lish during the time that Holland had been a depen- 
dency of France. It was inevitable that they should 
be, for they were virtually French possessions during 
the French occupancy. But two of them; Ceylon and 
the Cape of Good Hope, were retained by the English 
after the war was over, contrary, as I think, to good 
faith and justice. It is doubtful whether England has 
gained anything by the Cape Settlement. The 
country is essentially Dutch, and the dissatisfaction 
of the Dutch settlers with the English Government 



has led to secession, revolt, and war, under circum- 
stances which has conferred no credit on the intrusive 
government, and have been no particular honour to 
English arms. And though in our time Holland 
cannot, even if she had her old spirit and resources, 
vie with the great military Powers of Europe, as she 
once did, her reputation is still high, and her energy 
is renewed. 



I HAVE now arrived at the end of the object 
which I had before me, which was to give a brief 
narrative of the manner in which the Dutch people 
vindicated their nationality, and were for a long 
time the very centre of modern European his- 
tory. In my opinion, the story of this heroic 
people is entirely worthy of study, and, as I have 
stated, is more romantic and more instructive than 
that of the famous stand which Greece made against 
Persia, near twenty-four centuries ago. The debt 
which civilization and liberty owe to these people is 
greater than that which is due to any other race, 
however little it may be known and acknowledged. 
The administration of the United Provinces, no doubt, 
committed some grave errors, which were visited over 
severely upon it. But there was a time when these 
errors were deemed to be political wisdom, and the 
English Government, which treated the Dutch more 
ungenerously, more unjustly, and more unwisely than 
any other European Power did, clung to these errors 
after they had been discarded in the Netherlands. 



In a brief sketch like this the difficulty is, not what 
one should say, but what one should omit, without 
impairing the historical lesson, which the narrative of 
Dutch heroism and enterprize should and can convey. 
It is true that towards the end of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, Holland was assailed by jealous rivals, into 
whose hands their own chief magistrate played. But 
it is also true that after sixty years of humiliation, the 
Dutch have reasserted themselves, and though a small 
people, hemmed in by large military governments, 
they hold a considerable place among nations. Some 
scribbler, the other day, who knows little of what they 
were, and nothing of what they are, has called them 
an effete nation. Nothing can be more untrue. They 
are fortunately disabled from wasting their substance 
on militarism, and they are, and I trust will be, pro- 
tected by the public conscience of Europe, as they 
should be, in so far as political wisdom goes for any- 
thing, by the persistent goodwill of Great Britain. 
But I do not find that in any department of enter- 
prize, of commercial integrity, and of intellectual 
vigour, the Dutchman of to-day is behind any Euro- 
pean nation whatever, or even the race which achieved 
so remarkable a position in the seventeenth and the 
first half of the eighteenth centuries. I need only 
quote the name of Kuenen. 

I have been constrained in the necessary task of 
selecting the materials for this sketch, to omit much 
that might have been said about the place which by- 
gone generations of Dutchmen have done for progress 
and for letters. The language of the people is a 
dialect, spoken by the inhabitants of what is only a 


corner of Europe. But the Dutch are justly proud of 
their native poets, of Vondel and of Katz, for in- 
stance, from the former of whom, it is said, our Milton 
did not disdain to borrow, if we do not accept the 
alternative, that two persons of nearly the same age, 
not only thought alike, but expressed their thoughts 
in nearly the same words ; in the latter of whom the 
Dutch allege that they have a lyrist whose poems 
rank with the best. 

In the early days of the Republic, Holland, and 
especially Amsterdam and Rotterdam, held the 
printing-presses of Europe, whatever may be said 
of the modern claim that this great invention was 
made at Haarlem. The Elzevirs were the first pub- 
lishers of cheap editions, and thereby aided in dis- 
seminating not the new learning only, but all that 
the world knew at the time. From Holland came 
the first optical instruments, the best mathematicians, 
the most intelligent philosophers, as well as the 
boldest and most original thinkers. Holland is the 
origin of scientific medicine and rational therapeutics. 
From Holland came the new agriculture, which has 
done so much for social life, horticulture, and flori- 
culture. The Dutch taught modern Europe naviga- 
tion. They were the first to explore the unknown 
seas, and many an island and cape which their cap- 
tains discovered has been renamed after some one 
who got all his knowledge by their research, and ap- 
propriated the fruit of his predecessor's labours. 
They have been as much plundered in the world of 
letters, as they have been in commerce and politics. 

Holland taught the Western nations finance, per- 



haps no great boon. But they also taught commer- 
cial honour, the last and the hardest lesson which 
nations learn. They inculcated free trade, a lesson 
which is nearly as hard to learn, if not harder, since 
the conspiracy against private right is watchful, in- 
cessant, and, as some would make us believe, respect- 
able. They raised a constant, and for a long time 
ineffectual, protest against the barbarous custom of 
privateering, and the dangerous doctrine of contra- 
band in war, a doctrine which, if carried out logically, 
would allow belligerents to interdict the trade of the 
world. The Dutch are the real founders of what 
people call international law, or the rights of nations. 
They made mistakes, but they made fewer than their 
neighbours made. The benefits which they conferred 
were incomparably greater than the errors which they 

There is nothing more striking in the Dutch cha- 
racter than the fact that, after a brief and discreditable 
episode, the States were an asylum for the persecuted. 
The Jews, who were contemned because they were 
thrifty, plundered because they were rich, and harassed 
because they clung tenaciously to their ancient faith 
and customs, found an asylum in Holland ; and some 
of them perhaps, after they originated and adopted, 
with the pliability of their race, a Teutonic alias, 
have not been sufficiently grateful to the country 
which sheltered therrw The Jansenists, expelled 
from France, found a refuge in Utrecht, and more 
than a refuge, a recognition, when recognition was a 
dangerous offence. 

There is no nation in Europe which owes more to 


Holland than Great Britain does. The English, I 
regret to say, were for a long time, in the industrial 
history of modern civilization, the stupidest and 
most backward nation in Europe. There was, to 
be sure, a great age in England during the reign of 
Elizabeth, and that of the first Stewart king. But it 
was brief indeed. In every other department, of art, 
of agriculture, of trade, we learnt our lesson from the 
Hollanders. How we repaid them I have striven to 
show, I hope in no unpatriotic strain. Our own 
Selden, who learnt all his learning from Dutch 
sources, never lets an opportunity slip of gibing at 
his literary benefactors and teachers. 

I must not permit myself to linger on the modern 
merits of restored and revived Holland. I doubt 
whether any other small European race, after passing 
through the trials which it endured from the Peace of 
Aix-la-Chapelle to the conclusion of the continental 
war, ever had so entire a recovery. The chain of its 
history, to be sure, was broken, and cannot, in the 
nature of things, be welded together. But there is 
still left to Holland the boast and the reality of her 
motto, " Luctor et emerge" 







^^A" \1^wjK[^ 



Abjuration, Act of, 106 
Accord, the concession of, 71 
Agriculture, prosecution of, in 

Holland, 217 
Aix-la-Chapelle, peace of, 357 
Albert, Archduke, his history, 

Alexander VI., Pope (Borgia), 

Bull of, 45 
Alliance, the grand, formation of, 

by William, 290 
Almanza, battle of, 329 
Alva, Duke of, his history before 

he came to Flanders, 73 ; policy 

of, 75 

Ambassadors, privileges of, abuse 
of, 290 

Amboyna, capture of, 179; mas- 
sacre of, 249 

American independence, war of, 


Amsterdam, Bank of, foundation 
of, 221 ; government of, and 
reputation of, 223 

Amsterdam, rise of, on the fall of 
Antwerp, 144; trade of, 168; 
riches of, 215; less hearty to- 
wards William III. than the 
rest of Holland, 303 ; com- 
mercial prosperity of, 346 ; siege 
of, in 1787, 371 

Anjou, Duke of, his character, 

101 ; his bad conduct, in ; his 

departure, 116 
Antwerp, attempted seizure of, by 

Anjou, 115 ; importance of, as 

a base against England, 139 ; 

siege of, 140 
Archdukes, the, their stipulations 

as to peace, 183 
Aristocracy, the, in Holland, and 

elsewhere, an unmixed evil, 10 
Armada, the, and the English 

fleet, 147 ; defeat of, 148 ; the 

second, its fate, 164 
Armed neutrality, the, in 1780, 

Arminius, Jacob, at Leyden, 230 
Artificial grasses, cultivation of, 

in Holland, 218 
Augsburg, League of, 291 
Austrian succession, war of the, 

Avignon, annexation of, 289 


Bank of England, foundation of, 

Barneveldt , Olden , his policy, 230 ; 
his recovery of the cautionary 
towns, 233 ; imprisonment, trial, 
and execution of, 234-5 

Barendz, voyages of, 172-6 

3 82 


Bartholomew, massacre of, effects 

of, 82 
Batavia, foundation of, 180 
Batavians, the allies of Caesar and 

Rome, 2 ; disappear, 4 
Bubbles, the time of the, 345 
Bavaria, Elector of, regent of the 

Netherlands, 311 ; his refusal to 

accept the Pragmatic Sanction, 

Beachy Head, battle of, 306 

Beggars of the Sea, their capture 

of Brill, 78 
Beggars, the name of adopted, 

Belgium, an European battlefield, 

Bentinck, elevation of, an offence 

in Holland and England, 303 
Binnenhof, the, 359 
Bishops, the, increase of, in the 

Netherlands, 68 
Blenheim, battle of, 329 
Blood Council, the, 75 
Bohemia, election of, king of, 


Boniface, Bishop of Mainz and of 

Utrecht, 8 
Brazil, relinquishment of, by the 

Dutch, 258 
Bribes, expenditure of Philip on, 

Bridge, the, over the Scheldt, 

Brill, capture of, by the Beggars 

of the Sea, 78 
Burgundy, Dukes of, origin of, 

2 3 

Burnet, his counsels to William, 


Cadiz, second destruction of the 

fleet at, 162 
Calfskin, the, a charter, 55 
Calvin, policy of, $2 
Cape Passage, the Dutch make 

the, in 1595, 176 
Catherine II. (Russia), her policy 

in 1780, 365 

Charles II. of England, character 
of, 255 ; his perfidy in 1672, 
267 ; forced to forego his bar- 
gain with France, 276 

Charles, the Great, principles of 
government by, 6 

Charles the Headstrong, succes- 
sion of, 32 ; his objects, 33 ; his 
quarrel with the Swiss, 38 

Charles (V. ), his birth in 1 500, 44 ; 
accession of, his empire, 47 ; 
resignation of, 56 ; his career, 
58 ; oration of, and conduct of, 

Charles VI. (Germany), policy of, 

Charters to towns, forms of early, 

T 4 

Civilis Claudius, revolt of, 3 

Civil War, the, in France, 131 ; 
of 1787, 370 

Clergy, use of the, as instruments 
of government, 8 ; never one of 
the estates in the Netherlands, 

Cleves and Juliers, the mad Duke 
of, 239 

Commerce, necessity of, to Hol- 
land, 170; the destruction of, 

Cromwell, hostility of Dutch to- 
wards, 250 

Crusades, effects of the, on trade, 



Debt, the, of Holland in 17 14, 337 
De Witt and the events of 1672, 

De Witt, John, his administration, 

De Witts, murder of the, 270 
Dirk, Count of Holland in the 

tenth century, 7 
Dorislaus, Isaac, murder of, 251 
Dort, Synod of, 234 
Drake, his expeditions, 145 ; his 

exploits at Cadiz, 146 
Dunkirk, pirates of, 143 ; sale of, 

25 f 



Dutch independence, declaration 

of, 104 
Dutch, political views of, in, 

1609, 212 ; adopted Calvinism, 

230; tried to conciliate Charles 

II., 258 
Dutch ports, their reputation, 377 
Dutch Republic, constitution of 

the, 339 
Dutch scholars, their eminence, 

Dyke, the, at Antwerp, attempts 

to break through, 142 
Dykes, opening of the, in 1672, 

274 ; danger to the, from the 

Pholas, 348 
Dykvelt, the Dutch envoy in 

England, 291 


East India Company, foundation 
of the English, 177 ; Dutch and 
English rivalry of, 249 ; its rapid 
progress, 280 

East India Company, foundation 
of the Dutch, 178; its capital, 
200 ; its policy, 202 ; its rapid 
growth, 243 

East India Companies, fortunes of 
the English and Dutch, 344 

Egmont, arrest and execution of, 

Egypt, conquest of, its effects, 48 

Elizabeth impounds Alva's trea- 
sure ships, yj ; her position, 
89 ; her knowledge of Philip's 
designs, 129 

England, friendship of Nether- 
lands with, its motive, 19 ; 
throne of, Philip's claim to, 122 ; 
condition of, in Elizabeth's 
reign, 189 ; war of, on Holland 
in 1653, 255 ; receives many of 
the Huguenots, 287 ; jealous of 
the Dutch after 1688, 300 ; 
policy of, towards Holland, 
during the war of American in- 
dependence, 365 

English Government, the, its 
usage of Holland, 337 

English traitors, some, as Yorke 

and Stanley, in Holland, 135 
Erasmus, his timidity, 53 
Ernest, Archduke, his brief rule, 

Essex, his capture of Cadiz, 162 
Europe, hostility of, to Louis 

XIV., 304 ; feeling of, towards 

England, 365 
European Powers, principal in the 

war of the English succession, 

305; quarrels of the, 352 
European system, the Dutch drawn 

into, in 1702, 324 

Females, descent through, com- 
mon in Europe, 23 

Fisheries, the importance of, to 
Holland, 27 

Flanders, temporary freedom of, 


Flemish towns, the, small repub- 
lics, 35 

Flushing, capture of, 80 

Fontenoy, battle of, 356 

France, wars of, with England, 
33 ; policy of, in relation to 
the Low Countries, 206 ; alli- 
ance of Holland with, 244 

Frederic Henry, birth of, 118; ac- 
cession of, 240 

Frederic the Great, his behaviour, 

French prey, the, at Antwerp, 

r ?s 

Frisians, the, probably absorbed 
the Batavians, their love of free- 
dom, 4 

Frontier towns, the, guaranteed, 

Fury, the Spanish, in Antwerp, 92 

Genoa, bankruptcies in, 208 ; bank 
of, 222 ; Louis XIV. bombards, 


George II. (England), his German 
policy, 349 



George of Denmark, his want of 
capacity, 324 

Gerard, Balthasar, the murderer 
of Orange, 118 

Germany, Philip claims the empire 
of, 123 

Ghent, town of, and its bell, 21 ; 
insurrection of, in 1448, 31 ; 
another insurrection at, 55 ; 
pacification of, 92 

Gianibelli, his devices, 141 

Gibraltar, battle of, in 1607, 203 ; 
capture of, 329 

Golden Fleece, Order of, insti- 
tuted, 31 

Gomarus, quarrel of,with Arminius, 

Governess, the, Anne, her per- 
nicious counsels, 361 

Grand Alliance, danger to, 310 

Great Intercourse, the, its import- 
ance, 50 

Great Privilege, the provisions of, 

4 1 . 

Grotius, his attempts to reconcile 

differences, 233 ; his imprison- 
ment, escape, and banishment, 

Guilds, institution of, its origin, 15 
Guises, murder of the, 152 


Hanover, house of, its succession 
welcomed by the Dutch, 338 

Hanseatic League, the excellent 
work of, 17 

Harvests, seven years bad, 311 

Heemskerk, his exploits, 203 

Heinsius, death of, 341 

Henrietta, wife of Charles I., her 
intrigues in Holland, 251 

Henry IV., of France, policy of, 

Henry II., of France, communi- 
cates his purposes to William, 

6 7 
Henry III., of France, his views, 


Herrings, curing of, improved by 
the Flemings, 27 

High Mightinesses, title of, 
assumed and why, 245 

Hooks and Kabeljauws, the, 
factions of, 11 

Holland and Zeland, simultaneous 
insurrection of, 80 

Holland, ancient, character of, 3 ; 
two principal potentates in, the 
Count and the Bishop of 
Utrecht, 9 ; constitution of, 87 ; 
negotiations of, with Elizabeth, 
134; really gained her own 
independence, 137 ; trade of, in 
the East and West, 183 ; its 
numerous sea captains, 204 ; 
independence of, not recognized 
by James and Henry, 213; its 
success in the arts, 220; enemies 
of, their anticipations, 227 ; con- 
stitution of, unsatisfactory, 228 ; 
position of, at the beginning of 
the Thirty Years' War, 240 ; 
independence of, acknowledged, 
248; commercial theory of, 250 ; 
war of, with the English Parlia- 
ment, 253 ; first war of Charles 
II. with, 264 ; Louis XIV. 
makes, thoroughly distrust him, 
287 ; receives many of the 
Huguenots, 289; always attached 
to William III., 301 ; its fear 
of Louis XIV., 316; resolution 
taken by, in the war of the 
Spanish succession, 323 ; its 
trust in Marlborough, and his 
deference to it, 326 j debts 
of, after 1713, 335 ; decline of, 
after 17 16, 339; condition of, 
in 1735' 353 ; during the Con- 
tinental war, 372 ; its past and 
present condition, 380 

Horticulture, practice of, in Hol- 
land, 217 

Huguenots, the, in France, 285, 
286; emigration of, 287 

Image breaking, the, in the 
Netherlands, 71 



Inquisition, the, establishment 

of, 64 
Intolerance common among those 

who have been persecuted, 225 ; 

decline of, in Holland, 241 ; 

motives of Louis XIV. in, 317 
Ireland, war in, 1689, 306 
Irish troops brought to England, 



Jacqueline of Holland deposed 
by Philip, 28 

James I. of England, his character, 
206 ; his religious sympathies, 
214; his opinion of his own 
theological learning, 227 

James II. of England offends 
Louis at a crisis, 292 ; his policy, 
293 ; deserted by everybody, 
298 ; his foolish manifesto in 
1692, 308 

Jansenists, quarrel with the, by 
Louis XIV., 285 ; and Jesuits, 


Jesuits, dislike of the, 213 
Joanna, wife of Philip, madness 

of, 44 
John of Austria, Don, his history, 

92 ; bis purposes, 93-5 ; his 

death, 99 
John William Friso, heir of 

William III., his death, 341 
Joseph II., Emperor, attack of on 

Holland, 368 
Juareguy, Juan, attempts the 

assassination of William, story 

of, 113 


Kabeljauws and Hooks, the prac- 
tices of, n 

La Hogue, battle of, 307 
League, The Most Holy, its 

designs, 130 
Leicester, Earl of, his history, 135 
Leopold of Germany, his cha- 
racter, 305 

15 26 

Lepanto, battle of, 93 

Leyden, siege of, 34 ; University 
of, 86; University of, its reputa- 
tion, 220 

Liege, revolt of, 37 

Linen, manufacture of, in the 
Netherlands, 19 

Linschoten, his map of the East, 

Louis XL, the crafty, his policy, 
33 ; his character, 34 ; disap- 
pointed by the distrust of the 
Flemings, 39 ; intrigues of, with 
Mary's counsellors, 42 

Louis XIV., activity of, in 1672, 
268 ; ambition of, an assistance 
to Holland, 275 ; declares war 
against Holland, 302 ; fear en- 
tertained about him, 315 

Luther, policy of, 52 

Lutheranism, political tendencies 
of, 232 


Madrid, treaty of, in 1729, 343 
Malacca, attack on, in 1606, 181 
Margaret of Parma made Regent, 

Maria Theresa, her position, 355 
Marlborough, origin and character 

of, 3 2 5 
Mary of Burgundy, her attitude to 

the Low Countries, 40 ; her 

death, 42 
Mary of England, wife of William 

II., death of, 257 ; marriage 

of William III. with, 281 
Matalieff, Dutch admiral, victory 

of, 182 
Maurice, gradual development of 

the military skill of, 153 ; his 

successes, 154; his conduct at 

the battle of Nieuwport, 193 ; 

character of, 228 ; death of, in 

1625, 240 
Maximilian, marriage of, with 

Mary, 42 
Mayenne, Duke of, his intrigues, 

Medway, English fleet burnt in 

the, 266 

3 86 


Monarchy, hereditary, a coming 
danger to Holland, 348 

Money, sources of Philip's, 126 

Monopoly of trade, early, defence 
of, 178 

Monopoly, the object of the Dutch 
and English traders, 205 

Mutinies of Spanish troops, fre- 
quent, 91 


Namur, recapture of, in 1695, 312 

Nantes, Edict of, 286 ; repealed, 

Napoleon I., the basis of his claim 
to the Dutch states, 2 

Nassau, house of, its services, 67 

Navigation Act, its effects on 
Dutch trade, 253 

Netherlands, the, two races in, 2 ; 
trade of, origin of, 15 ; pros- 
perity of, in the fifteenth cen- 
tury, 25 ; persecutions in, 53 ; 
importance of, to France, 131, 
133; Philip determines to sur- 
render, 161 ; the dower of, 
dangled before France and Eng- 
land, 213 ; designs of Louis 
XIV. on, 263 

Neutrality, Dutch, greatly desired 
by Louis, 323 

New Amsterdam, capture of, 265 

Nieuwport, battle of, 192 

Nimeguen, effects of the treaty 
of, 282 

North-east Passage, attempts to 
discover, 172 sqq. 

Nova Zembla, isle of, wintering of 
the Dutch on, 175 


Opinion, public, about Louis in 
England and Holland, 318-323 

Orange, Prince of, first appear- 
ance of, 59 

Orange, Prince of, William IV., 
his marriage, 349 

Orleans, Duke of, his policy after 

I7I5> 338 
Ostend, siege of, 194 sqq. 

Ostend Company, foundation of 
the, 342 


Papacy, revolt against, districts in 
which it occurred, 50, 51 ; 
Philip obliged to manage the, 

Parliament, English, its distrust 
of William III., 299 

Parma, Prince of, character of, 
IOO; distrusted by Philip, 158; 
his death, 159 

Pensionary De Witt, prime mini- 
ster, 262 

Patriots, party of the, 367 ; wel- 
comed the French in 1794-5, 

Peace, negotiations for,in 1607,209 
Peace, desire for, in 1572, 83 
Peace of 1763, effects of, 363 
Peasants' war, the, causes of, 49 
Pepper, great demand for, 177 
Peterborough, campaign of, in 

Spain, 330 
Philip, son of Mary, his acession, 

43 ; his marriage, 44 
Philip, reign of and death of, 165 
Philip II., description of, 59 ; 
formally deposed in 1575, 87; 
becomes king of Portugal, his 
ban published, 103 ; his pro- 
jects, 120-8 ; his distrust of 
Parma, 157 
Philip III., character of, 188 
Philip "the Good," of Burgundy, 
24 ; quarrel of, with the English, 
and siege of Calais by, 29 
Pholas, ravages of the, 348 
Political liberty, the true object 

of Charles V.'s animosity, 62 
Pope, effects from the lessening of 
his authority, 25 ; Louis XII. 
insults the, 285 
Portugal, revolt of, in 1641, 247 ; 
claims of Charles II. on behalf 
of, 258 
Portuguese, original possessors of 

the spice trade, 202 
Powers, European, at the declara- 
tion of Dutch independence, 88 



Pragmatic Sanction, the, its ob- 
ject, 344 

Printing in Holland, 377 

Printing presses, activity of, in 
Holland, 220 

Privateers really pirates, 362 

Prussia, claims of, in Holland, 341 

Prussia, king of, his invasion of 
Holland, 371 

Pyrenees, treaty of, terms of, 263 


Ramillies, battle of, 330 

Reformation, two divisions of, 51 

Religions, some, have been ex- 
tirpated, 352 

Remonstrants, the, and their 
opponents, 231 

Republic, Dutch, the, importance 
of the foundation of, in history, 

Repudiation of debts by Philip in 
1596, 187 

Requesens, death of, 90 

Resentment of Europe, interpreta- 
tion of, by Cromwell, 251 

Rhine, the delta of the, is Hol- 
land, 1 

Roland, the town bell of Ghent, 21 ; 
the bell tried and condemned, 55 

Ryswick, peace of, 312 

Salic law, the, in France, 22 
Salted provisions, importance 

of, 28 
Salzburg, Archbishop of, his 

persecutions, 346 
Scheldt, the, closed by the Dutch, 

Science and art, their progress in 

Holland, 377 
Seneff, battle of, 278 
Seven Years' War, the, its object, 

Shipping, Dutch, injuries to, in 

the Seven Years' War, 362 
Sluys, capture of, 195 
Smallpox, severe visitation of, 332 
Southwold Bay, battle of, 265 

Spain, downfall of, as a European 
Power, 150; foolish liking of 
James I. to, 207 ; claims of, in 
1607, 209; attempt on, by Louis 
XIV'., 277; reverses in, 332 

Spanish troops, excellence of the, 73 

Spice islands, acquisition of, 200 

Spices, liking for, 201 

bpinola, Marquis of, 192 ; family 
of, 196 

Stadtholder, office of the, 26 ; son 
of, married to daughter of 
Charles I. , 247 ; the general 
progress of his power, 340 

Stadtholderate made hereditary, 

243 . 
State rights in Holland, 228 
States -General, their reluctance to 

the marriage of William IV. , 349 
Steenwyk, siege of, and incident 

at, 104 
Strasburg, retention of, 313 
Subjects and kings, rights of, 24 
Swiss, the, quarrel with Charles 

of Burgundy, and defeat him, 38 

Temple, Sir W., sent to the 
Hague, 266 

Theological questions of universal 
interest at one time, 231 

Thirty Years' War, importance of, 

Titelmann, the chief Inquisitor, 69 

Toleration first practised by the 
Dutch, 166; reasons why the 
Dutch would not grant it, as 
a concession to Spain, 211 ; 
instances of, in Holland, 379 

Torbay, William lands at, 297 

Tories, the, supplanted Marl- 
borough, 333 

Tourville, entire defeat of, at La 
Hogue, 309 

Towns, survival of, after the down- 
fall of Rome, 12 

Triple Alliance, the, negotiated, 

Truce, the, of 1609, 210 

Tulip mania, the, of 1637, 245 




Union of Brussels, the, 99 
Union of Utrecht, the, 102 
United Provinces induced to take 
part in the expedition of 1688, 

Utrecht, church of, foundation of, 

4 ; treaty of, 334 ; Jansenist 
archbishop at, 347 


Venice, bank of, 222 

Vere, Sir Francis, governor of 

Ostend, 196 
Vervins, peace of, 164 
Vigo bay, battle of, 329 
Vondel, supposed indebtedness of 

Milton to, 221 


Wales, Prince of (the Old Pre- 
tender), title of, its effects, 291 

West India Company, foundation 
of the Dutch, 180 

White Mountain, battle of the, 239 

William II., Stadtholder, deter- 
mines on making himself abso- 
lute ; dies, 252 

William III., a posthumous child, 
252 ; education, undertaken by 
Holland, 256 ; made Captain- 
General, 269 ; character of, 271 ; 

anxious to prolong war, and 
why, 279 ; his quarrels with the 
English Parliament, 299 ; pecu- 
liar military abilities of, 307 

William IV., his accession, 357 ; 
his memory respected, 360 ; his 
death, 361 

William V., his accession and 
his character, 364; curtailment 
of his powers, 369 

William of Orange, insults of 
Philip to, 65 ; the Silent, why 
thus called, 68 ; learns all 
Philip's secrets, 70 ; his difficul- 
ties, 96 ; put under the ban of 
Philip, 103 ; his belief in the 
necessity of foreign help, 109 ; 
attempted assassination of, 112 ; 
his fourth marriage, 116; his 
murder, 118 

Winter roots, cultivation of, in 
Holland, 217 

"Wisdom of Holland," a title 
given to De Witt, 262 

Wool, English, importance of, to 
the Netherlands, 18 

Zulestein, special envoy to Eng- 
land, 292 

Zuyder Dee, irruption of, in the 
thirteenth century, 4